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Georgia Self Defense Laws
Georgia self defense laws were created to reduce the charges or secure the freedom of someone when he or she has to use whatever force is necessary to protect him or herself from another. Self defense is a valid strategy to use in a criminal case, and if a judge agrees that you acted reasonably, you cannot be prosecuted any further.
No two cases are alike, and this defense requires preparation, experience, and knowledge of the Georgia self defense laws. Therefore, you need a skilled attorney to advise you, develop your argument, and represent you in court. The Law Ladies, a group of experienced criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta, will provide expert counsel if you are charged with using force against another.
Understanding Georgia Self Defense
Specific rules about Georgia self defense vary from place to place. There are many aspects to consider, including what the actual definition of self defense is. Self defense is defined as the right to prevent physical violence by counteracting it through the use of force. While this is a simple definition, it can raise many questions when applied to different situations.
For example, what is a sufficient level of force when defending yourself, and what surpasses that level, becoming unnecessary use of force? What if the victim provoked the attack? Can a potential victim retreat from the violence? These are merely a few of the questions to which Georgia self defense laws provide answers.
Georgia self defense laws may apply when you have been charged with any of the following:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Felony Murder
Even if your behavior would typically constitute a crime like assault, it is legal and almost universally accepted to protect yourself and your family from harm. In the U.S. legal system, you are allowed to claim self defense when accused of a violent crime.
With so many potential complications and the ramifications, if you are convicted, it is crucial to discuss your case with a skilled criminal attorney in Atlanta who is well-versed in the Georgia self defense laws.
Self Defense Laws in Georgia and Use of Force
Self defense laws in Georgia are more complicated than they first appear. States have developed rules dictating when self-defense is allowed and how victims can protect themselves.
Generally, self defense is only justified when there is an immediate threat of unlawful force. The threat can be verbal as long as it creates an immediate fear of physical harm. Offensive words without an accompanying risk do not justify self defense.
When it comes to self defense, the use of force typically loses justification once the threat has ended. For instance, if the aggressor ceases assaulting another, there is no longer a threat of violence, and any retaliatory action is considered a forcible felony rather than self defense.
Self Defense Laws Georgia
Based on self defense laws Georgia, sometimes the use of force is necessary even if the aggressor did not mean harm. In that situation, what matters is whether a reasonable person would have perceived the threat of physical harm. The concept of the “reasonable person” is a legal construct subject to different interpretations in practice. It is the legal system’s best tool to determine whether a person believes he or she was justified in using force.
Sometimes, a person has a genuine fear of imminent physical harm that is unreasonable. If a person uses force to defend themselves from the perceived threat, this is considered “imperfect self defense.” Imperfect self defense does not excuse a crime, but it can lessen the penalties. Not every state recognizes imperfect self defense for using force, and Georgia only allows it as a defense for murder.
Using a self defense claim in your criminal defense strategy can be complicated, especially if other charges (such as a drug charge under OCGA 16 13 30) are also being brought against you. Working with a qualified criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive understanding of Georgia self defense laws will give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Georgia Self Defense Law and Your Case
A Georgia self defense law strategy can only be used when you reasonably believe that the commission of a forcible act will result in death or great bodily harm. Georgia self defense laws require the response to violence to match the level of the threat in question. Thus, a person can only use as much force as it takes to remove the threat.
If the threat is deadly, the victim can use a level of force necessary to prevent death. However, if the risk involves minor force, and the victim uses unlawful force that results in bodily harm or death, your self-defense claim will most likely fail.
Is There a Self Defense Law in Georgia?
There is a self defense law in the state of Georgia. Early laws concerning self defense required victims to try to avoid violence before using force. This is known as the “Duty to Retreat,” which most states have removed in non-lethal force cases. But, in cases where lethal force causing death is involved, many states do require a person to try to escape before using force.
In contrast to Duty to Retreat, a number of states including Georgia have Stand Your Ground laws. Based on the Official Code of Georgia 16-3-23, the state’s Stand Your Ground law removes the Duty to Retreat and allows a self defense claim even if no escape attempt was made.
Although this is more common when situations do not involve using deadly force, in GA, whatever amount of force necessary to defend yourself and protect your property may be allowed under this law, even if it involves shooting an intruder. Other states are somewhat divided on the Stand Your Ground law if lethal force is used.
GA Self Defense Laws
According to GA self defense laws, even though the state requires a retreat from the threat of imminent harm, a person can use deadly force if an intruder enters their home. This is similar to self defense laws in California and is known as The Castle Doctrine.
States with Castle Doctrine allow people to defend their homes with deadly force against those who unlawfully enter it. Like most rules, the exact results vary from place to place and case to case. It is a good idea to consult an attorney to learn more about Georgia self defense laws.
Claiming Self Defense in Georgia
Claims of self defense in Georgia are common, but the rules on how a person can defend themselves and the force they are allowed to use can be complicated. Everything can be made simpler with an experienced attorney. You can find a reputable, professional attorney who will defend your right to self defense to the best of their ability.
If you feel that you had a valid reason to react the way that you did, and there are mitigating factors in your case, contact The Law Ladies. They will fully review the details of your situation and may be able to plan a defense strategy using Georgia self defense laws in your favor.
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