What Is Lawful Resistance?
Well-intended citizens sometimes step up to interfere with criminal actions about to be committed against themselves or others. This does not always have the result they expect, since even highly-trained police officers can misunderstand or lose control of situations. But the court believes that people should not be punished for trying to look after their own wellbeing or the wellbeing of others. The concept of “lawful resistance” is often used in these situations.
Under the Penal Code of the State of California, lawful resistance describes attempts to prevent the commission of a criminal offense that would injure the intended victim, whether or not the person acting is the object of the illegal actions. This resistance is only lawful, however, if the person acting only does what’s necessary.
For example, if someone tries to assault you and you hurt them in self-defense, you can avoid charges for assault and battery on the grounds that you were protecting yourself. If the same happens to a loved one or just a bystander, and you interfere, you can also cite lawful resistance. But if you overreact and cause more serious injuries to the person attempting assault than are justifiable, you can still be held liable.
It can be often difficult to determine whether or not someone’s actions were called for. As such, it’s crucial to have the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in these situations. If you acted without malice to prevent harm to yourself or another person, and in the process accidentally caused harm to the attacker, you should not have to face legal punishment for your actions. The San Jose criminal lawyer, Daniel Jensen, at the Law Offices of Daniel Jensen, P.C. can help you. To discuss your case with an experienced defense lawyer, contact us today at (408) 493-0082.