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What you need to know about New Jersey’s self-defense law

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Often, a defendant will claim that they had to resort to violence in response to a legitimate threat of injury from another person. Additionally, a defendant may claim that they rushed to the defense of another person. Furthermore, perhaps someone trespassed on their property, and the owner believed it was their right to defend it. 

New Jersey law permits self-defense in certain circumstances. Outlined below are some key factors regarding the state’s self-defense law: 

Self-defense as personal protection 

An individual may use force if they reasonably believe that unlawful force against them is imminent. Prosecutors may weigh many factors, including each person’s statures, the threats exchanged and whether there’s a history of violence when deciding whether to press charges against a defendant. 

N.J.S.A. 2C:3-4 outlines the rules relating to personal self-defense as well as the exceptions. Notably, individuals are not permitted to use such force to resist arrest. 

Defending another person 

The New Jersey law that spells out a person’s right to defend others is N.J.S.A. 2C:3-5. The circumstances under which someone can defend another individual are for personal protection reasons. The courts may urge a jury to consider how a reasonable person would have acted in the same circumstances when weighing a defendant’s self-defense claims.

Defending your home 

N.J.S.A. 2C:3-6 outlines the conditions in which New Jersey residents are allowed to use force in defense of their property. Essentially, the property owner must reasonably believe that the use of force is necessary to prevent a criminal trespass. Of course, there are exceptions to the use of force which the legislation thoroughly outlines. 

Familiarizing yourself with New Jersey’s self-defense law is in your best interest. It can ensure your safety and protects your legal rights