Justifiable Use of Force and Self-Defense Laws in Illinois
Self-defense is often a legitimate argument when defending against assault or battery charges, but it can only be a defense in certain situations. If you acted in self-defense, it is possible you acted with force that would otherwise be illegal.
Like many states, Illinois understands there are some situations in which you have no other choice but to use force to protect yourself, your loved ones, or your property. The Illinois Criminal Code contains all of the stipulations and requirements that you must meet in order to claim self-defense. Depending on the circumstances, defending against charges of assault or battery can be difficult, but it can be made easier with the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.
Self-Defense Laws in Illinois
According to the Criminal Code of 2012, an individual is permitted to use deadly force against another person if they “reasonably believe that such conduct is necessary to defend (themselves) or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force.” This means that you are allowed to use force against another person as long as it is truly necessary. If you claim self-defense, you must prove that three elements were true at the time of the incident:
- You or another person’s well-being was threatened by another person’s use of unlawful force;
- The force that you used was necessary to protect yourself or another person; and
- You were put in a situation in which using the force that you did was the only way to protect yourself or another person from the unlawful force of another.
Imminent danger is one of the more important elements of a self-defense claim. If you were put in imminent danger, you were in a situation in which the threat of harm was present and immediate. The threat must also be categorized as unlawful force, which includes acts like:
- Sexual assault or abuse; and
Defending Your Property
While you are able to protect your physical self, you are also able to protect your property. If the force that you used was likely to result in death or great bodily injury, one of the following must be true:
- Entry to your property was made in a violent manner and the use of force was necessary to prevent harm to you or others on your property; or
- Your use of force was necessary to prevent a felony from being committed on your property.
Seek Representation From a Naperville Defense Attorney
At Donahue & Sowa, we understand certain situations call for the use of force. While the lines between self-defense and unjustified use of force are often blurred, our trained St. Charles criminal defense lawyers can help you and the prosecutor see that self-defense was the only alternative. Contact our office today to discuss the details of your case and how we can help. Call us at 630-505-5200 to schedule your free consultation today.