If a person attempts to inflict harm on you or your family, you have the right protect yourself with physical force and violence. Although you have the right to defend yourself in dangerous situations, you can possibly face homicide charges if you kill your attacker while fighting back. Nothing can be more frightening than having to face a prison sentence for trying to protect the lives of you and your family. In this blog, we talk about which self-defense situations are considered justifiable homicide.
Drawing the Line
People who kill armed intruders in their homes are protected under the Castle Doctrine, which is the legal notion that your home is your castle and you have the right to use deadly force to defend it. If you have killed someone while trying to defend your own life, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss how to build a strong defense strategy. Homicide cases can become heated because of all the tension that is associated with murder, which is why you want a lawyer who can demonstrate that your actions were justifiable given the circumstance you were put in by your attacker.
If you are facing homicide charges for self-defense, you generally have to prove the following things in order for your actions to be considered justifiable:
- You were trying to prevent a violent crime like rape, murder, or armed robbery. The attacker's intent to commit the criminal act also needs to be clearly indicated.
- You obeyed a duty to retreat. This means that you first attempted to avoid the confrontation but you were forced to resort to violent measures because you could not escape your attacker. If you were attacked in your home or workplace, this aspect is less important to prove.
- There was no other way for you to prevent the violent crime from taking place other than to use lethal force. This aspect becomes important in court, because prosecutors usually try to argue that you could have used less force to subdue your attacker or that you could have called law enforcement.
The state of Colorado doesn’t have a “stand your ground” law, which means gun owners can’t use lethal force on the streets if they have the option to retreat from their attacker. However, the state does have a history of being lenient with those who use self-defense. In fact, Colorado was the first state to enact “make my day” legislation, which gives homeowners immunity if they shoot and kill intruders. To this day, it is still one of the strongest such laws in the United States.
In Colorado, a person can justifiably use a gun to defend themselves if they have reason to believe that they or somebody else will die or suffer serious bodily injury. An attacker doesn’t have to have a gun to be considered capable of inflicting serious or lethal harm, which means a person who is only armed with their fists can be justifiably shot in self-defense.
Have you been accused of murder after defending your life or the lives of your loved ones? We can help you assert your legal rights and fight the charges against you. Contact our team of Denver criminal defense lawyers to request your no-cost consultation today.