April 28, 2020 | Criminal Law
Individuals have the right to defend themselves from harm. However, a person could be accused of committing a crime, even though the person was acting in self-defense. Kentucky’s self-defense laws could help the person avoid an assault charge if the person was acting to protect themselves or another person.
What is Self Defense?
Self-defense occurs when a person uses violence or force to defend themselves against an attack. A person may also use self-defense in some instances to protect another person from injury or harm. Self-defense is often used as a defense in cases involving allegations of domestic violence, murder, battery, assault, and other violent crimes.
However, self-defense is not a justification for using violence in all situations. It is also not an excuse for using certain forms or levels of violence.
What Are The Self-Defense Laws in Kentucky?
Self-defense is an affirmative defense used in criminal cases. Affirmative defenses are raised by the person accused of the crime. When a person alleges self-defense, he is claiming that he had to act to protect himself or another person.
If a jury finds that a person was acting in self-defense, it is a complete defense to the crime. The person is not guilty of the crime. For example, if you prove that you were acting in self-defense when you committed assault, you cannot be found guilty of assault.
Kentucky Revised Statute §503.050 states that a person can use physical force to defend themselves. The person must believe that the force was necessary to protect against the imminent use of unlawful physical force by the other person.
The statute also permits a person to use deadly force. However, the person must believe that deadly force was necessary to protect themselves from specific actions. Actions that might justify the use of deadly force include kidnapping, death, forced sexual intercourse, or serious physical injury.
In some states, a person might have the duty to retreat before using deadly physical force in self-defense. However, Kentucky’s statute specifically states that a person does not have a duty to retreat before using deadly force.
Kentucky also allows a person to use physical force in defense of another person. The statute for protecting another person is similar to the statute for self-defense. The person must believe a third party is in danger of immediate harm.
Improper Use of Physical Force in Kentucky
According to Kentucky Revised Statute §503.060, the self-defense statute does not apply if you are resisting arrest. However, the statute also states that the arrest is by a peace officer using no more force than is reasonably necessary to effect the arrest.
Self-defense also does not apply in cases in which the person provoked the use of physical violence by the other person. However, in cases in which the person was the initial aggressor, the person could use physical force if the initial physical force used was nondeadly and he believes the force used in return could cause serious physical injury or death.
What Should You Do If You Are Arrested for Assault?
If arrested for assault or other violent crime, do not attempt to argue your way out of the arrest by using a self-defense argument. As with other cases, it is best not to answer questions or talk to the police until you speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Many people make the mistake of trying to explain that they were acting in defense of themselves or another person. They believe that if they can just explain their side of the story, they can avoid arrest.
However, as we discussed above, self-defense is an affirmative defense raised during a trial. Asserting self-defense when you are arrested for a crime will not prevent the arrest. You need to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you develop a self-defense strategy to use in court.
Remain Silent Until You Talk to A Lawyer
If you are arrested for defending yourself or another person, remain silent except for requesting an attorney. You must provide your name and contact information to a police officer, but you are not required to answer questions or provide a statement without an attorney present.
Anything you say can be used against you. You might believe you are helping yourself by explaining that you were acting in self-defense, but you could say something that could prevent you from using the defense strategy in court.