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Is it legal to defend yourself with violence?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

You’re not a violent person and have never been in trouble with the law before. Unfortunately, people like you can still find themselves in violent situations.

For instance, someone may have tried to grab your bag in the middle of the street or attempted to break into your home and steal your belongings. In such a scenario, is it legal to defend yourself through the use of violence?

You can stand your ground

Some states impose a duty to retreat on citizens. This is not the case in Georgia. In Georgia, you are entitled to protect yourself from being the victim of a violent crime. However, there are a few conditions;

  • You must reasonably believe that unlawful force is imminently going to be used against you or a third party.
  • The amount of force used must be reasonable and only for defensive purposes.

If you were the aggressor or used a disproportionate amount of force, then it could be you who finds yourself in trouble with the law.

What about protecting your home?

Self-defense laws also apply to your place of residence. If you hold a genuine belief that someone is breaking in or entering your property with the purpose of causing you physical harm, then you are entitled to defend yourself. Again, the amount of force used must be reasonable under the circumstances.

You are legally entitled to defend yourself and your property, but self-defense cases can be complex. If you’re facing criminal charges after defending yourself then it’s crucial to seek some guidance.

From offices in Augusta-Richmond County we serve clients in neighboring communities including Grovetown, Thomson, Waynesboro, Harlem, Lincolnton, and Wrens. Beyond Augusta we handle cases in Columbia County, Burke County, McDuffie County, Lincoln County and Wilkes County. We also proud to represent military families and veterans from Fort Gordon, Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem.