Attorney at Law

Self Defense


One of the popular defenses in a criminal case is self-defense.  This essentially justifies your actions so that you cannot be convicted for the crime.  An example of this is a police officer who shoot and kills an armed suspect.  This officer has committed the crime of murder, by intentionally killing another.  However, if he did so under the fear of death to himself, or another, he would not be guilty of the crime of murder, since he acted in self-defense.

This is also a common defense in assault or abuse type of cases.  In Hawaii, once facts of self-defense are introduced, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was not acting in self-defense in harming the other person.  

The finder of fact must sit in the defendant's shoes, and imagine if the amount of force necessary was immediately necessary to avoid coming to harm himself.  In other words, you can't shoot someone for punching you in the nose, unless you feared death.

A person is also justified in using force to protect third parties.  For instance, if a husband sees his wife being assaulted, he can use the amount of force immediately necessary to protect her.



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