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WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT ALABAMA SELF-DEFENSE LAWS.

Posted by Andrew Segal | May 07, 2018 | 0 Comments

There are a lot of questions and confusion about when a person is justifiably acting in self-defense under Alabama laws.

If I was, to sum up, the law in one word, it would be reasonableness.

Alabama self-defense law looks to whether the person acted reasonably to defend themselves.

So, remember: “You can't shoot an Ant with an elephant gun”.

The degree of force used in self-defense must be reasonably matched to the potential force or threat.  

For example, while you may use physical force against an unprovoked attacker who is about to punch you in the nose, you can't use uncalled for deadly physical force. Shooting a guy who is going to punch you in the nose would probably be considered excessive and result in criminal charges.

Others will judge the reasonableness of your actions first to deciding whether to charge and if you're charged, a judge or jury will decide if you are guilty of a crime.

My view is the use of force should be the absolute last resort; use every effort to avoid using physical force - especially deadly physical force.

Even if you're legally justified in using force that doesn't mean that there will not be other consequences.

First, the police may not agree; you could face arrest and trial. Even if you win, you face the considerable financial and emotional costs involved in defending against criminal charges.

And, despite having charges dismissed, you could have a criminal arrest record for life.

You may get sued, lose a bunch of money and generally have your life made miserable. This can happen even if you are not charged or you're acquitted of a crime.

Avoidance is the best option. Consider taking steps to avoid to need to use force to defend yourself.

These steps may include any number of things. Anything from being situationally aware, to getting a dog to installing an alarm system or avoiding certain people.

A bit of anticipation could save you a ton of trouble.

About the Author

Andrew Segal

Andrew Segal is a former prosecutor who now represents the accused as a criminal defense attorney in Huntsville, Alabama area courts. Andrew graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1982. During his time at Washington College of Law at American University, he discovered hi...

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