Whether you have been accused of assault or even murder in New York, you have the right to protect yourself and others from harm by using force, which is known as “self-defense.” If you can prove you acted in self-defense, you will not be convicted of the alleged crime.
A person is reasonably justified to use physical force against another person as long as justification is proportional. For example, if an unarmed aggressor punches or kicks you, you may defend yourself by punching or kicking the person back. On the other hand, if you retaliated by using a weapon like a knife or a gun, then such action is disproportional.
When it comes to deadly physical force, New York is not a “stand your ground” state. In fact, individuals have a “duty to retreat” (e.g., fleeing or contacting law enforcement officials) to mitigate the risk of harm before using deadly force as a last resort.
However, New York has a “castle doctrine,” which means you can use deadly force to defend your home against invaders without being required to retreat from the threat. The reason behind this is that your home is “your castle” or safe space and that you should not have to retreat from your home when defending it against intruders.
If you believe you acted in self-defense after being accused of a violent crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine if the legal defense applies to your case. At O’Brien & Eggleston, we have more than 25 years of combined experience handling various criminal matters throughout New York City, including violent crimes.