The laws of self-defence differ in many countries but the general principle is mostly the same. The US allows its citizens to carry a few weapons with them in order to protect themselves; however, they must have a license to carry those arms. On the other hand, Australia is against the use of weapons in self-defence situations and is highly dependent on the police for the protection of its citizens.
Self-defence is an act performed by an individual to protect themselves in case of murderous intent, assault and battery, rape or any other violent act being committed towards them. A plea for self-defence can include any criminal charges or liabilities for committing a crime, causing injury to or death of another person in the situation. You may need to consult a criminal lawyer in order to get specific legal advice.
Lawful Self Defence
Lawful self-defence is when the person who is using force against the other individual is not termed as being guilty, because that person was defending themselves or another person. Following conditions must be met for the defence to be considered lawful.
- The defending person has a rational belief that the other individual was a source of potential harm to them and may have caused any bodily injury or unlawful act.
- To protect themselves against the danger, the use of force was the only solution.
- The force used was only as much as was necessary to stop the potential action.
Degree of Force
It is necessary to have proof of the need for self-defence in any situation, when you appear in court for the trial. Normally, there are two types of force used in self-defence in order to avoid potential harm, which are:
- Reasonable Force or Non-deadly Force
- Deadly Force
Reasonable force is used to defend against an approaching injury. The aim of using any kind of force as a defence should be to repel the attack, so it should not be more than is needed. The use of Non-deadly force can be successful for both, deadly and non-deadly attacks, whereas deadly force will only be considered acceptable in the case of a deadly attack.
Also, the court states that if an exit or escape route is available; then the victim should retreat or flee instead of defending oneself. However, if the victim has been trapped within their own house or boundary fence around their house, company or car, the use of self-defence is justified.
At times, the perpetrator may also claim self-defence in court to get away with the crime. This is why the best and recommended practice is to use non-deadly force; only extreme cases require deadly force.
Self-defence has long been accepted by the courts as a legal right of an individual to defend themselves against violence and is considered acceptable in the public policies of many countries.
However, as Self-defence is carried out when an individual believes that they might suffer harm from a person in the near future, the court argues that the belief can be both, rational and irrational. Therefore, it considers all the facts available and comes to the conclusion only after thoroughly deliberating the issue.