You have a right to defend yourself

On behalf of Jack B. Rubin, PA posted in Weapons Crimes on Monday, June 8, 2015.

If you have ever suspected an intruder to be in your home in Maryland, you will already know what a terrifying and distressing experience that can be. You may feel threatened, upset or even angry. Yet if it turns out that there is someone there, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? You may even react instinctively to the situation. Yet afterward you may fear that your actions could get you into legal trouble.

Fortunately, you do have a right to defend yourself in your own home. However, this does not permit unlimited aggression toward an intruder. According to the law, you are required to employ only a reasonable response. This means that you are not legally permitted to do more than is required to allow you to get to safety. If you are perceived to have overreacted to the threat, this is often termed a disproportionate response and you might be charged.

However, as this article on weapons crimes explains, if you are reacting to a threat of death or severe bodily harm and your interpretation of that threat is deemed to be reasonable, you may be protected by law even if you use extreme force, such as shooting the intruder. Of course, every case is unique and there are many factors involved in reaching such a verdict.

If you have been charged with a weapon crime for attempting to defend yourself or a loved one, an attorney may be able to help you. He or she can advise you about your options and may be able to help ensure that your side of the story is heard by the court.

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