Act in Self-Defense; but still being charged with a crime?
Even if you believe that force, deadly or otherwise, was justified, that does not mean that you will not be charged with the crime. Many times if the use of force was or was not justified is a question for the jury. This is what the Zimmerman trial is about, did Zimmerman act in self-defense. The jury will be asked to make that determination. That’s why it’s important if officers try to question you regarding an assault, battery, or homicide, you can and should have an attorney present. This post seeks to educate you on the Colorado Self-Defense Laws.
If you or a loved one are accused of a crime, don’t wait – contact us today for a free consultation at (303) 747-4686.
When Can I legally use Self-Defense
Colorado Revised Statute 18-1-704 allows the use of physical force in order to defend you or another from what is a reasonable belief that the other person will use or has used physical force against you or another person. The amount of force allowable is what is reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Deadly force may only be used if you reasonably believe that a lesser amount of force is inadequate and
- you or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury OR
- the other person is using or appears about to use physical force against the occupant of a dwelling or business establishment while committing or attempting to commit a burglary or kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, or assault.
Some common misconceptions about the use of self-defense in Colorado:
- If the physical force is a result of mutual combat (a fight) self-defense is not an affirmative defense to the charges
- The person provokes the other person to use physical force and then claims acted in self-defense
- The party claiming self-defense cannot be the initial aggressor
How is Self-Defense Asserted
- First a DA will review the investigation done by the officers to determine if the use of force was justifiable or not. If it is determined by the DA that the use of force was NOT justified under the self-defense statutes, than the person will be charged.
- The Affirmative defense of self-defense can be used during a jury trial. The jury will determine if the person acted reasonable given the testimony that is heard.
- If the circumstances show a justification for the use of force; but not enough to use it as an affirmative defense, it may still be considered by a jury.
This is not a general legal concepts. There are elements and sub-elements to this type of defense, if you or a loved one are being charged with a crime of violence, please contact us directly at (303) 747-4686 or click contact us.