Within the last few days there has been two armed robberies (i.e. a bank and a couple out walking) within a 2-4 blocks of our West Seattle house. Our little residential area has had a rise in criminal activity in the last 3 years we have lived here. I always have a weapon on me when my wife and I are out walking. I don’t want to shoot anyone but I also don’t want to be a victim either.
The instructions a jury receives in a self-defense case are that “A person is entitled to act on appearances in defending [himself] [herself] [another], if [he] [she] believes in good faith and on reasonable grounds that [he] [she] [another] is in actual danger of injury, although it afterwards might develop that the person was mistaken as to the extent of the danger. Actual danger is not necessary for the use of force to be lawful.”
If the self-defense is fatal the relevant instructions. Are as follows:
It is a defense to a charge of [murder] [manslaughter] that the homicide was justifiable as defined in this instruction.
Homicide is justifiable when committed in the lawful defense of [the slayer] [the slayer's [husband] [wife] [registered domestic partner] [parent] [child] [brother] [sister]] [any person in the slayer's presence or company] when:
1) the slayer reasonably believed that the person slain [or others whom the defendant reasonably believed were acting in concert with the person slain] intended [to commit a felony] [to inflict death or great personal injury];
2) the slayer reasonably believed that there was imminent danger of such harm being accomplished; and
3) the slayer employed such force and means as a reasonably prudent person would use under the same or similar conditions as they reasonably appeared to the slayer, taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances as they appeared to [him] [her], at the time of [and prior to] the incident.
The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the homicide was not justifiable. If you find that the State has not proved the absence of this defense beyond a reasonable doubt, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.
In plain English, a person is allowed to defend themselves from immediate harm if the actions are necessary, reasonable and don’t use more force than is necessary to defend one’s self or others.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE: All answers are intended to provide information about the law only. Nothing in this answer is intended to be, nor is it, legal advice. NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP: This answer does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. If you want specific legal advice about your situation you must contact your attorney or hire an attorney to represent you.
The legal issues you could face would be a murder charge. Better to give up your wallet.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
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