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When and How You Should Apply Self Defense

When a person feels that he is in danger, or being attacked by someone, he has the right to defend himself; this is known as self-defense. However, every state has different laws regarding self-defense. In Illinois, you are permitted to use a certain amount of strength to protect yourself or someone. You can also apply self-defense to guard your house or other possessions.

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However, the following conditions need to be satisfied if you’re using self-defense:

  • There was inevitable danger or threat to you or someone else or your property
  • The threat was illegal
  • You believe that you require to apply force
  • Your used force equal to the threat

If you are the invader, then you can’t claim self-defense. Additionally, when you are acting in self defense, you can’t act unreasonably or overreact.

There exist two levels of force under self-defense laws:

  • Regular force, or the force that stops you from acting or moving normally and
  • Deadly force or the force that causes or has the intention to cause serious physical injury or even death.
    Read Also – Section 374 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
Regular Force

You can apply some regular force to defend someone or yourself else against an attack. If you see someone is entering your property without your permission, then you can also use regular force.

Deadly Force

You can apply deadly force when defending against a person or defending your home or property against a person.

If you’re protecting someone else or yourself against an attack, you can apply lethal force if you strongly believe it’s appropriate to prevent:

  • A forcible felony, or
  • Great physical harm or even death to yourself or someone.

You can also use deadly force to prevent a robbery or an assault against yourself or someone else in your home, but only if

  • You can only use it against someone who is trying to enter aggressively.
  • You believe such vigor is compulsory to avert a violent felony in your home.

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Duty to Retreat

The original law regarding self-defense states that people should try to avoid violence before applying any necessary force. This rule is also known as the “duty to retreat”. However, most of the states have withdrawn this rule. But many states still respect this rule and encourage people to escape the situation before applying any deadly force.
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Proportional Response

When the response equally matches with the threat level, it is considered a proportional response. In short words, a person is permitted to employ necessary force only to remove the threat. If the threat uses deadly force, then the person defending himself can use deadly force too to remove the threat. If, however, the threat uses only regular force, and the person claiming self-defense uses deadly force such as fatal physical injury, then claim of the self-defense will go in vain.

The Castle Doctrine

Even though some states require a person to avoid a threatening situation, the victim has the full right to use deadly force against someone who illegally enters the home. According to https://www.lepetitjuriste.fr, this rule is known as “the castle doctrine”. This particular rule allows people to defend their homes against intruders using lethal forces. However, jurisdiction and facts of the cases will play a crucial role in the exact result.

Stand Your Ground

“Stand your ground” law is simply the opposite of the “duty to retreat” law. This law withdraws duty to retreat and permits a self-defense argument even if the claimant did nothing to save himself from the threat. This rule is mostly applicable when the situation involves non-lethal force.


Self-defense claims are usually a common thing, but the rules regarding self-defense are strict. Whether a person is capable of claiming self-defense or the amount of force they can use in self-defense is complicated. Nevertheless, it’s always suggested to avoid any situation that may cause someone any harm.

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by Sujain Thomas

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