Powerful Advocacy,  Investigation, Negotiation, and Litigation

When can I use force for self defense?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Criminal Law |

Self-defense is when you use force or violence to defend yourself, or another person, from imminent harm. The level of force allowed depends on the details of the situation. There are only a few that allow for the use of deadly force against another person.

The Montana Code outlines different situations that qualify the use of deadly force in self-defense. Below are a couple of them:

In the defense of oneself or another person

You generally have the right to use force when there is a threat against you or another person that you believe may cause serious harm. “Harm” may mean immediate danger of imminent death, bodily injury or serious bodily harm. The courts generally only support this level of force if the individual who used it can show that there were no other options, including retreat, for avoiding the threat. An example that would often qualifies includes an individual shooting a firearm in your direction.

In the defense of property

You also generally have the right to use force against someone who is illegally trying to break into your home or property, and you believe that they cause a threat of injury or death to you or anyone else in your home. Self defense protections often apply when you believe that using force is the only way to save you and the other occupants of your home from immediate serious danger.

Using force in self-defense is a serious matter. Knowing the basics of how the law protects these rights can help you when you need to navigate a complicated situation.