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Self-Defense Laws in New Jersey


Self-defense laws in New Jersey were put in place to ensure the safety of all citizens. You are entitled to defending yourself in cases where threat is imminent. However, there are various laws in place that could work to your disadvantage when defending yourself. It pays to know how you are legally entitled to defend yourself and how you are not.

New Jersey Self-Defense and You

New Jersey law clearly states that you have a right to protect yourself from others who threaten your safety. You are entitled to use force against a person if the force is necessary to protect yourself from a life-threatening attack or bodily harm.

Self-Defense and Your Home

Self-defense laws also extend to protecting your home, but with some caveats. You are legally entitled to protect your property provided you ask the person (attacker/intruder) to leave before taking any kind of forceful defensive action. But defending your home can be tricky, too – the law also states that you don’t have to ask the person to leave if making the request puts you in danger.

Self-Defense and Protecting Others

Protecting others by using force works in a similar fashion to protecting yourself. If you use force to protect others, you must believe that the person you’re protecting is in immediate danger. You would have to prove that the force you took was reasonable and that it prevented harm of the person you were protecting.

Counter Arguments to Self-Defense

It is important to remember that self-defense does go both ways and the actions you take in a self-defense situation will often be examined and weighed in court, especially if it resulted in the bodily hard or death of your assailant. One major counter-argument that is examined in cases of self-defense is whether or not the action taken was proportional to the threat. For example, if someone is punched by an assailant, it’s unlikely the court will accept a retaliation of multiple stabbing as reasonable self-defense.
Another counter argument is whether or not using force was justifiable in the first place. The law states that if there was a way to escape harm by retreating from a situation rather than defending yourself with force, you should retreat. This is known as “duty to retreat”.
Self-defense can be tricky, especially in the aftermath. Everyone reacts to danger in different ways. What may seem reasonable in a dark, terrifying situation may seem completely irrational in the light of day. It’s imperative to remember that if you believe you were defending yourself, you are the victim of what could have been a deadly situation.
Proving that self-defense was appropriate can be difficult in some situations which can leave you, as a victim, being tried as an assailant. Know your rights – if you are facing convictions related to an act of self-defense, you need to take steps to ensure that your rights are protected. Let us conduct a thorough investigation of the facts to determine the best strategy for building a highly effective defense. Turn to the experienced Middlesex County criminal defense attorneys of Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. To schedule your consultation, contact us today.

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