Can I Defend Myself If I Am Attacked?

When persons are attacked or threatened with harm they have a legal right to defend themselves.  This is particularly true in a person’s home or place of business. However, this right is not without some limitations.

In Tennessee a person my use (or threaten to use) reasonable force against another to the extent reasonably believed immediately necessary to protect against the other person’s use or attempted use of force.  There is no requirement to retreat before using force in self-defense.  Under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-611 a person using deadly force in self-defense against an intruder, while in a residence, car, or business for example, is presumed to have had a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to him or herself or another.

Under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-612 a person may also use self defense to protect a third person.  If under the circumstances they reasonably believe them to be in imminent danger of harm, a person would be justified in using self-defense if they reasonably believe that intervention is immediately necessary to protect another person.  A person may not use self defense if the person consented to the force used against him, of if the person provoked the other person’s use of force (unless the person first abandoned the encounter and the other person continues to attack.)

Many accused of crimes like assault or domestic assault may have had a legal right to defend themselves, and the absolute right to he use that defense at trial.  If you have accused of such a crime contact an experienced Murfreesboro, Smyrna or La Vergne criminal defense lawyer immediately.  Every case has complex legal issues and clients need help to understand these issues and their rights to present a legitimate defense.  There is simply too much at stake to take a chance defensing yourself or on an inexperienced or lazy defense lawyer.



Stan Bennett