Use of Force Law

jks9199

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From what I heard, in the aftermath of a confrontation if the other person is hurt worse than you, you can get in trouble, even if they took the first punch.

It's not that simple. Guy points a gun at me, I shoot him, he dies. I'm not hurt. Was my use of force justified? Yep. Will I be in trouble? Nope. But, someone bumps me, and I jump up and hit 'em in the jaw, knocking them out? Yeah, probably in trouble. Or... someone hits me, then turns and runs away. I chase 'em down and shove their face into the mud. They're not hurt at all, just their dignity. I've got a bloody nose. But I still get charged with assault. Now, I'm oversimplifying these examples a bit -- but the principles are demonstrated.
 

PhotonGuy

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I could spend an eternity on why a lawyer could still make your life a living nightmare but I wont. I do however want to ask you a question. If laws were changed to give you "the good guy" a so called legal leg to stand on how would that change your mentality about protecting yourself? Would you be more inclined to use force instead of walking away when you could? It seems to me as if you desire some built in protection in a court of law that gives you more freedom to potentially put yourself in a bad situation. A punch from a drunk and a knife attack are two different things

That would depend. Some people might be reluctant to use force in self defense because they're afraid of getting in trouble. As to how it would change my mentality, I wouldn't be so reluctant to use force in self defense if it came to that. After all, its better to use force in self defense and not be afraid to use it, than it is to be a victim. The problem is, if you use force against a bully and you end up not a victim of the bully but a victim of the system because they want to punish you for refusing to be a victim to the bully. As for walking away, that would depend on the situation. It would depend on various factors such as your location, ect. If you're at your own home in most cases you wouldn't have to walk away because of the castle doctrine. However, in some places you can get in trouble for using force even against a home intruder. If you're in a public place and somebody attacks you, you shouldn't have to retreat because you've got as much of a right to be there as the attacker or anyone else. Lets say you're a college student on a college campus. If somebody attacks you on campus, you shouldn't get in trouble for using force to incapacitate them. You're a student and you've got every right to be on the campus. Of course the best case is if nobody messes with you in the first place so that you don't have to use force. The philosophy I live by is, "you don't bother me, I don't bother you." I don't try to put myself in bad situations. As for having to use force to incapacitate somebody, I wouldn't want it to come to that but if it does, I shouldn't get in trouble.
 

PhotonGuy

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It's not that simple. Guy points a gun at me, I shoot him, he dies. I'm not hurt. Was my use of force justified? Yep. Will I be in trouble? Nope. But, someone bumps me, and I jump up and hit 'em in the jaw, knocking them out? Yeah, probably in trouble. Or... someone hits me, then turns and runs away. I chase 'em down and shove their face into the mud. They're not hurt at all, just their dignity. I've got a bloody nose. But I still get charged with assault. Now, I'm oversimplifying these examples a bit -- but the principles are demonstrated.

In the case of the gun, that would depend on where you are. In some states such as Texas you wouldn't get in trouble but in a state such as New Jersey you might get a long prison sentence. In New Jersey, if guns are used at all they're only supposed to be used for hunting, sport shooting, and law enforcement. But Im talking about situations that don't involve guns. If you beat up an assailant with your bare hands in most cases you shouldn't get in trouble. Now, if you've already incapacitated somebody and they're no longer a threat, if you continue to beat on them you will get in trouble, I know that much and it would also apply to somebody running away because they're no longer a threat if they're running. If you do incapacitate somebody who is a threat and they end up hurt worse than you, than you shouldn't get in trouble.
 

SteveNC

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That would depend. Some people might be reluctant to use force in self defense because they're afraid of getting in trouble. As to how it would change my mentality, I wouldn't be so reluctant to use force in self defense if it came to that. After all, its better to use force in self defense and not be afraid to use it, than it is to be a victim. The problem is, if you use force against a bully and you end up not a victim of the bully but a victim of the system because they want to punish you for refusing to be a victim to the bully. As for walking away, that would depend on the situation. It would depend on various factors such as your location, ect. If you're at your own home in most cases you wouldn't have to walk away because of the castle doctrine. However, in some places you can get in trouble for using force even against a home intruder. If you're in a public place and somebody attacks you, you shouldn't have to retreat because you've got as much of a right to be there as the attacker or anyone else. Lets say you're a college student on a college campus. If somebody attacks you on campus, you shouldn't get in trouble for using force to incapacitate them. You're a student and you've got every right to be on the campus. Of course the best case is if nobody messes with you in the first place so that you don't have to use force. The philosophy I live by is, "you don't bother me, I don't bother you." I don't try to put myself in bad situations. As for having to use force to incapacitate somebody, I wouldn't want it to come to that but if it does, I shouldn't get in trouble.

What exactly would you change about the law in regards to a non-life threatening situation which in reality is plain old fighting and NOT self defense? If a punk or drunk gets in your face and gets physical with you should you be allowed to throw him on the pavement, ground and pound him and beat the tar out of him because you deem your actions as reasonable? My thinking here is that perhaps you desire a cut and dry law that deems any type of physical altercation as an assault on your well being. I don't think the laws need changing so much as I believe people need a better understanding of what legal "self defense" really is.
 

PhotonGuy

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What exactly would you change about the law in regards to a non-life threatening situation which in reality is plain old fighting and NOT self defense? If a punk or drunk gets in your face and gets physical with you should you be allowed to throw him on the pavement, ground and pound him and beat the tar out of him because you deem your actions as reasonable? My thinking here is that perhaps you desire a cut and dry law that deems any type of physical altercation as an assault on your well being. I don't think the laws need changing so much as I believe people need a better understanding of what legal "self defense" really is.

In a case like that, a person should be able to use whatever force is necessary to stop the punk or drunk. After throwing him to the pavement, it might not be necessary to ground and pound him if he doesn't get up and keep fighting. Once he is neutralized he is no longer a threat. Grounding and pounding a hoodlum who is no longer a threat is crossing the line. If I were to land one punch and knock the hoodlum out there would be no reason for me to keep pounding him, but I should not get in trouble for landing that one punch.
 

jks9199

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In a case like that, a person should be able to use whatever force is necessary to stop the punk or drunk. After throwing him to the pavement, it might not be necessary to ground and pound him if he doesn't get up and keep fighting. Once he is neutralized he is no longer a threat. Grounding and pounding a hoodlum who is no longer a threat is crossing the line. If I were to land one punch and knock the hoodlum out there would be no reason for me to keep pounding him, but I should not get in trouble for landing that one punch.

The basic principle of self defense says that you may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to safely resolve the situation. Not whatever force you want -- but whatever you can articulate in a way that would make a reasonable person say "Yep, that was necessary." It's not a step-for-step formula, and it's subjective. I'd be held to higher standard as a professional LEO than you would as a "mere" martial artist. You'd be held to a different standard than an eighty year old woman with a walker.

It's not clear what you're looking for that's not already there.
 

PhotonGuy

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The basic principle of self defense says that you may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to safely resolve the situation. Not whatever force you want -- but whatever you can articulate in a way that would make a reasonable person say "Yep, that was necessary." It's not a step-for-step formula, and it's subjective. I'd be held to higher standard as a professional LEO than you would as a "mere" martial artist. You'd be held to a different standard than an eighty year old woman with a walker.

It's not clear what you're looking for that's not already there.

I would be held to the standards of a martial artist only if the court knew of my background in the martial arts. If the court had no such knowledge, than I would probably be held just as accountable as an ordinary non martial artist. As for using just enough force to resolve the situation, if I was to continue to pound on an attacker after they're on the ground and incapacitated that would be excessive since they're no longer a threat. If I was to land one punch and seriously injure or even kill the attacker, Im not sure if the courts would consider that excessive but I would hope not. After all, if I don't continue to punch the attacker after he's been neutralized than I am not using excessive force. I should not get in trouble for landing one punch to stop the attacker even if I do hurt the attacker really badly. After all, why punish somebody for refusing to be a victim?
 

jks9199

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I would be held to the standards of a martial artist only if the court knew of my background in the martial arts. If the court had no such knowledge, than I would probably be held just as accountable as an ordinary non martial artist. As for using just enough force to resolve the situation, if I was to continue to pound on an attacker after they're on the ground and incapacitated that would be excessive since they're no longer a threat. If I was to land one punch and seriously injure or even kill the attacker, Im not sure if the courts would consider that excessive but I would hope not. After all, if I don't continue to punch the attacker after he's been neutralized than I am not using excessive force. I should not get in trouble for landing one punch to stop the attacker even if I do hurt the attacker really badly. After all, why punish somebody for refusing to be a victim?

In this day and age -- expect them to find out. Heck, even without investigating social media, all it takes is a simple question under oath: "have you ever been taught how to punch or about self defense?" to open the door.
 

PhotonGuy

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In this day and age -- expect them to find out. Heck, even without investigating social media, all it takes is a simple question under oath: "have you ever been taught how to punch or about self defense?" to open the door.

That would be about 99 percent of the people in the world. Most people have been taught how punch and some basic things about self defense by their parents and friends if not from anyone else. My dad taught me how to punch when I was a small child.
 

ballen0351

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That would be about 99 percent of the people in the world. Most people have been taught how punch and some basic things about self defense by their parents and friends if not from anyone else. My dad taught me how to punch when I was a small child.

Investigators are not stupid its not hard to tell the difference between a trained fighter and some guy that was taught by his dad as a child.
 

PhotonGuy

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If somebody uses a gun in a confrontation, it would be practically impossible to deny it. There would be way too much evidence against him, people would see him use the gun, people would hear him use it, there would be physical evidence, the bullet wound, the bullet, the gun itself, ect. Now, lets say somebody uses martial arts techniques in a confrontation. He could say its stuff that they saw on television or just thought up himself. I do know of a case where this boy from the orient used a bunch of palm strikes to stop a bully, when asked about it he said that he didn't have any martial arts training and that he didn't even remember what he did. He caimed he just acted in the heat of a confrontation.

That being said, somebody who has a martial arts background should not be held accountable for it in court unlike somebody who uses a gun in a confrontation. A gun is at a totally different level than martial arts, so it would make sense that the courts would take it quite heavily. However, such heavy accountability should be reserved for people who use guns in confrontation, not people who have martial arts backgrounds.
 
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Tgace

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If somebody uses a gun in a confrontation, it would be practically impossible to deny it. There would be way too much evidence against him, people would see him use the gun, people would hear him use it, there would be physical evidence, the bullet wound, the bullet, the gun itself, ect. Now, lets say somebody uses martial arts techniques in a confrontation. He could say its stuff that they saw on television or just thought up himself. I do know of a case where this boy from the orient used a bunch of palm strikes to stop a bully, when asked about it he said that he didn't have any martial arts training and that he didn't even remember what he did. He caimed he just acted in the heat of a confrontation.

That being said, somebody who has a martial arts background should not be held accountable for it in court unlike somebody who uses a gun in a confrontation. A gun is at a totally different level than martial arts, so it would make sense that the courts would take it quite heavily. However, such heavy accountability should be reserved for people who use guns in confrontation, not people who have martial arts backgrounds.

Your opinion is not founded in law. Legitimate use of force is legitimate regardless of the weapon used. If the SITUATION justifies the use of deadly force you can use a gun, knife, rock, cat on a leash...

If you are talking about civil suits/getting sued, that's a different subject.

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AIKIKENJITSU

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As a source of discussion, as well as a refrence thread, I was hoping everybody would look up their state law regarding use of force. Or for those outside the US, whatever law applies.


I’m an old martial artist who can still ply his art rather well with speed and power. An idea of my age: Grand Master Ed Parker tested me for brown belt. I have earned three black belts and studied some Aikido. I still teach private lessons.
I go by one defense by force law: If I am attacked, I use just enough force to stop the attack and no more. If he resumes the attack I again use just enough force to stop his attack. Of course I will try the first time to use what empty hand weapons will down him for good.
R. Mc
American Kenpo,
Tracy Kenpo,
Aiki-Kenpo
 

wingchun100

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One interesting thing about the US: in eastern states like NY, if you are confronted on the street, the law is that you have to do whatever you can to create an escape route and leave. However, in the midwest and other locations, they take your pride into account! If some guy throws a punch at you, you are allowed to hit back even if you have a clear escape route. In NY they want you to take off like a punk, even if you could hand the guy his head on a platter. A lot of people hate NY State for a lot of reasons. I don't, although I certainly do hate THAT law.
 

wingchun100

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Oops...sorry, I didn't mean to violate any rules with a curse word! Thank God for the edit feature.
 

Transk53

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Is the defender under a duty to retreat?

The answer is "no" although it will be compelling evidence for the jury that the defender acted reasonably if he retreated as far as he possibly could before responding physically. However, this has not always been the position.
For example, in the case of Julien [1969] 1 WLR 839 the court held that retreating was seen as a pre-requisite of establishing the defence of self defence. It was said that the defender must "demonstrate by his actions that he doesn't want to fight". This case was followed by McInnes [1971] 1 WLR 1600 where the reasonableness of the defender's actions might be looked at in the light of his willingness to "disengage and temporise". However, this is no longer the current position in English law.
The present position is stated in Bird [1985] 1 WLR 816 where the Court of Appeal said that a demonstration by the defender's conduct that he did not want to fight is the best evidence that he was acting reasonably and in good faith in self defence; but it is no more than that. A person may in some circumstances act lawfully in self defence without temporising, disengaging or withdrawing.
However, if the only reasonable course of action is to retreat, then to stand and fight would likely be seen as using unreasonable force.

I found that quite interesting. Now taking wingchun100 and the above posts, would it be deemed an act of aggression under UK law, if a Wing Chun practitioner managed to damage the opponent by sheer virtue of being conditioned. In court I imagine that could construed as being minimal force, if you could prove that you just deflected rather than strike. Even then, a final strike to put them down would still be "use of minimum force" as I see it. Whether this is true or I do not know, but I operated under the three warnings thing as a Doorman, because I was told that you give a person three warnings to back down and behave. As I say though, that is probably not founded in UK law, but the police accepted that mainly. These days the Doorman has a horrible time politically. Even if you have clearly defended yourself against an aggressor, The CPS (Criminal Protection Society) see the doorman as the aggressor.

Law Relating To SD
 

jks9199

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One interesting thing about the US: in eastern states like NY, if you are confronted on the street, the law is that you have to do whatever you can to create an escape route and leave. However, in the midwest and other locations, they take your pride into account! If some guy throws a punch at you, you are allowed to hit back even if you have a clear escape route. In NY they want you to take off like a punk, even if you could hand the guy his head on a platter. A lot of people hate NY State for a lot of reasons. I don't, although I certainly do hate THAT law.

You've greatly oversimplified this. Each state has different laws and different interpretations of those laws. Duty to retreat is very situational.

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wingchun100

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You've greatly oversimplified this. Each state has different laws and different interpretations of those laws. Duty to retreat is very situational.

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How can you oversimplify something that is already simple? Some states don't care if your personal pride is at stake, others do. Now if you get into who started what, THAT is where it gets more involved...but there is nothing complicated about the fact that, if you are not in your own home or cornered in an alley (for example), the law in NY State is that you are expected to retreat.
 
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Tgace

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How can you oversimplify something that is already simple? Some states don't care if your personal pride is at stake, others do. Now if you get into who started what, THAT is where it gets more involved...but there is nothing complicated about the fact that, if you are not in your own home or cornered in an alley (for example), the law in NY State is that you are expected to retreat.

http://tgace.com/2013/12/17/defend-yourself/

2. A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person under circumstances specified in subdivision oneunless:

Everything in part (1.) only justifies your use “physical force”, not “Deadly Physical Force”…unless the stuff below is true.

(a) The actor reasonably believes that such other person is using or about to use deadly physical force. Even in such case, however, the actor may not use deadly physical force if he or she knows that with complete personal safety, to oneself and others he or she may avoid the necessity of so doing by retreating; except that the actor is under no duty to retreat if he or she is:

(i) in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor; or
(ii) a police officer or peace officer or a person assisting a police officer or a peace officer at the latter`s direction, acting pursuant to section 35.30; or


If you reasonably believe someone is using or about to use “Deadly Physical Force” against you you are justified in using DPF yourself, UNLESS you know you can retreat WITH COMPLETE SAFETY to yourself or others. You do not have to retreat if you are in your home (and you are not the person who started the fight).
Cops don’t have to flee from the threat of DPF even if safe to do so. It is often wise to do so, but all sorts of thorny work related exceptions would come into play if it were mandated by law.

This is the section that gets some people wrapped around the axle over “stand your ground” laws. While…from one perspective I can see the “if I’m in the right why should the law require I flee?” point, I also think that avoiding unnecessary confrontation is always going to work out better in the long run. This law is not saying “to run” if the guy can shoot you in the back…that would not be “complete safety”. But if some guy outside your car is stabbing at your window with a knife (without success of course) and you can drive away…do so.
 

wingchun100

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Again, that is stating the point I made. In NY if you can retreat, you are expected to do so. Someone takes a swing at me when I am walking down the street. I'm not supposed to hit back...I am supposed to leave the scene.
 
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