woman defending herself aganist an attacker

What Is Self Defense In North Carolina’s Criminal Law?

There are two kinds of self-defense in criminal law. There is imperfect perfect self-defense and perfect  self defense.

Imperfect  self-defense, is defined as  an intentional killing committed with an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances justified deadly force. Claiming to have used this kind of self-defense may lessen the charges and penalties but still does not absolve  someone from committing a crime.

Perfect self-defense happens when the defendant has a valid reason to protect their life but it involves no wrong-doing or violent crime on the part of the accused person. There are some key elements when considering perfect self-defense in North Carolina.

  • The accused believed it was necessary to use force to save themselves from harm
  • The accused's belief was reasonable in the situation as it appeared to them at the moment that they needed to defend themselves. 
  • The accused was not the aggressor in the situation, they did not agitate nor did they aggressively and willingly enter into an altercation without legal excuse or provocation
  • The accused  did not use excessive or deadly force. 

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Self Defense and the obligation to retreat

In North Carolina, we have a “Stand your ground” law which removes the obligation to retreat and allows the use of self-defense when one is in their home, workplace or vehicle, under reasonable circumstances. Originally, the obligation to retreat meant that the person must first attempt to avoid using force and escape the situation. 

Find a Good Self Defense lawyer

If you are arrested or charged with a crime, the first and best thing you want to do is look for an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

What makes a good Self Defense lawyer

Not all lawyers are the same. You want to make sure you select the right one. A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who has the skills and resources to represent you and get you the best results in your case. It should also be someone you trust with your future. Your self-defense lawyer should be able to effectively communicate and has the skill set to take your case to trial if the need arises.