In New Jersey, there are several instances in which you can defend yourself if you are attacked. However, despite the law’s allowance of self-defense, there are limitations. If you have been charged with a crime for acting in self-defense to protect yourself, someone else, or your home from an imminent threat, it is imperative to retain the legal services of a seasoned Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help protect your rights and avoid harsh penalties. Please continue reading to learn under what circumstances you can face legal consequences for acting in self-defense in New Jersey.
In New Jersey, under what circumstances can someone act in self-defense?
Under New Jersey law, a person can cause force to act in self-defense if they are under the reasonable belief that they are in imminent danger of severe bodily harm from another person. Individuals maintain the right to protect themselves from an attack. They can also use force to act in self-defense if they are protecting another person they believe will be harmed if they do not intervene. Further, they can use force against an intruder in their home.
However, in New Jersey, everyone has a “duty to retreat.” This means that if you are in imminent threat of personal harm before you can resort to using deadly force to protect yourself, someone else, or your home from that threat, you must make every effort to avoid confrontation by de-escalating the situation or attempting to leave. New Jersey imposes a duty to retreat to ensure that using deadly force is the last option. Sadly, in some cases, avoiding confrontation is impossible, and you must resort to using force for protection.
When can you face criminal charges?
Nevertheless, despite being able to use force to defend yourself from an imminent threat, you can be charged with a crime if you fail to comply with your duty to retreat. If you do not make an effort to try to get out of the situation before resorting to using force, you will face harsh penalties. You could be charged with a violent crime such as assault or manslaughter, resulting in fines of more than $10,000 and incarceration for up to 20 years. With such legal consequences looming, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a determined Bergen County criminal defense attorney who can help you prove self-defense. Regardless of whether you believe you have done nothing wrong, as you were only protecting yourself or another person from an imminent threat of bodily injury or even death, you could still face significant repercussions if you cannot prove that you were acting in self-defense.
Contact The Law Office of Carl Spector for more information on New Jersey’s self-defense laws. If you have been charged with a crime for acting in self-defense, allow our firm to represent your interests to maximize your chances of reaching favorable results.