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Criminal Defenses in Alabama: Understanding the Defense of Others

What Constitutes a Defense of Others in Alabama?

Defense of others is a legal justification of a defendant's use of force in circumstances where they acted in defense of another person who they reasonably believed to be at risk of immediate harm.

Like self-defense and defense of property, defense of others in Huntsville and Madison County is used to defend allegations of violence. The defendant does not dispute that they did the violent act, but they argue their actions were legally justified. 

The specific elements and application of the law of defense of others vary between states. Generally, a defendant may be able to argue defense of another where:

  • They held a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to protect someone from an immediate threat of harm 
  • They used reasonable force that wasn't excessive in the circumstances

Alabama may allow a defendant to use lethal force to defend another person if they reasonably believed it was necessary under the circumstances.

Facing criminal charges can be extremely scary. The attorneys at Segal and Segal can help you understand what you are facing and how to defend yourself. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 to schedule a consultation.

The burden of Proof for Defense of Others' Claim in Huntsville and Madison County

Like self-defense, the defense of others in Alabama is an affirmative defense. It requires the defendant to admit to the alleged act. The specific operation of defense of others and the related burden of proof vary between states. 

The burden of proof for an affirmative defense is on the defendant. In these cases, the defendant must present evidence to prove that they acted in defense of another. 

Examples of Huntsville and Madison County Defense of Others

John is at a house party, talking to Brian and Tim. During a heated conversation, Tim raises his fist to punch Brian. John sees this and pushes Tim over before he can hit Brian. If John is later charged with assaulting Tim, he could argue the defense of another because he reasonably believed Brian was at risk of imminent harm and used reasonable force to stop Tim from hitting him. 

In contrast, if John stabs him with a knife rather than pushing Tim over, it would be unlikely John could successfully argue he was acting in defense of another. In this scenario, his force wasn't reasonable; it was excessive.

Why Hiring a Defense Attorney in Huntsville and Madison County Is Imperative

You can see that using the defense of others can be complicated and very technical. We know when this defense can or cannot be used at Segal and Segal. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 to find out of this method of defense would work in your criminal case.