The concept of self defense seems relatively simple to understand. If you are attacked, you have the right to use a degree of force to protect yourself from injury.
However, a behavior may only fall under the classification of self defense in certain situations. Here are a few of the basics you should know.
Protecting yourself and others
Knowing the degree of force you can use
A person has the right to defend themselves if doing so is necessary to prevent another party from doing one of the following:
- Imminent use of unlawful force
- Unlawful entry into a person’s home
- Attack on a person’s property
Those who are in danger of being attacked outside of their property must try to retreat from the situation, only using self-defense as a last resort. Using deadly force to prevent these actions is permitted if the attacker would otherwise cause:
- Imminent death
- Great bodily harm
- A felony to be committed
Understanding the castle doctrine
In Illinois, a person who is being attacked in their home is not required to attempt to retreat from the attacker before using self-defense. The idea behind this law is that a person’s dwelling is their castle. Therefore, the property owner should not be required to retreat when an unwelcome person intrudes.
Understanding these caveats can make a big difference in whether an act is considered assault and battery or self-defense.