Lexington, SC - In South Carolina, a person has a right to use deadly force when, under the circumstances, he reasonably believes such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury. Specifically, self-defense requires that a person prove:
(1) He was without fault in bringing on the difficulty; In other words, he did not cause the altercation;
(2) He believed that he was in imminent danger of losing his life or sustaining serious bodily injury, or he was in imminent danger;
(3) If self-defense is based upon his belief, a reasonably prudent man of ordinary firmness and courage would have entertained the same belief; In other words, an average person would have had the same belief of losing his life or sustaining serious bodily injury;
(4) If he was in imminent danger, the circumstances were such as would warrant a man of ordinary prudence, firmness and courage to strike the fatal blow in order to save himself from serious bodily harm or losing his own life. In other words, an average person would have defended himself in the same way.
(5) He had no other probable means of avoiding the danger of losing his own life or sustaining serious bodily injury than to act as he did in this particular instance; In other words, the person had to use deadly force in defending himself.
When a defendant claims self-defense, the State is required to disprove the elements of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Disclaimer: The referenced attorney’s goal is to provide the citizens of Lexington County with a greater knowledge of the law and legal procedure related to current events reported on by the South-West Lexington Ledger. Due process requires that everyone charged with a criminal offense in the United States is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law. The information in this article is only for general information and does not constitute legal advice. You should never act on general legal information without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed in South Carolina.
The publication of this information: (1) is only for general information purposes; (2) does not constitute legal advice; (3) is not intended to solicit legal representation; and (4) does not create an attorney-client relationship. This information is also not intended to compare the referenced attorney to the services of any other law firm or lawyer or to imply any specialization in an area of law. Any prior result achieved for other clients or award received by the referenced attorney should not be construed in any way as a guarantee of future results and does not necessarily indicate that similar results can be obtained for other clients. The publication of this information is not intended to constitute the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which the referenced attorney is not licensed to practice, nor is it intended to solicit legal representation of anyone in any such jurisdiction.
The law recognizes that a person’s home is his castle and that a person does not have a duty to retreat from his castle. Pursuant to the Protection of Persons and Property Act, the General Assembly extended the Castle Doctrine to include an occupied vehicle and a person’s place of business. The Castle Doctrine provides immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action when a person justifiably uses deadly force according to the Act.
To receive immunity, a person must be engaged in a lawful activity and attacked in a “place where he has a right to be”. If this occurs, the person has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground. Please note that a person is only allowed to use deadly force if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person.