Legal Use of Deadly Force in Monmouth County

If you feel like your life and safety—or that of a loved one—is in danger, it can be difficult to think rationally, and you may wish to respond with deadly force to any actual or perceived attack. People in New Jersey do have a right to defend themselves, but the government may place limits on exercising that right.

If you have used deadly force in self-defense, you may wish to seek out an attorney sooner rather than later. A dedicated gun rights lawyer may be able to help you understand the laws related to the legal use of deadly force in Monmouth County and explain how the police may perform any ensuing investigation.

Right to Use Deadly Force

In Monmouth County, people may use force to protect themselves, other people, their home, and their property. Specifically, according to New Jersey Revised Statutes §2C:3-4, people may use deadly force when they reasonably believe the amount of force used is necessary at that time to protect themselves from illegal force by another person.

In other words, the amount of threatened harm must be equal to the use of deadly force. As such, the police will usually question whether the person who used deadly force reasonably believed their life or serious bodily injury was at risk.

However, a person may not use deadly force to resist even an unlawful arrest or to resist force used by a property owner protecting their own property. A person may also not use deadly force if they:

  • Provoked the force directed at them
  • Can safely retreat
  • Can surrender the item that the aggressor claims
  • Can choose to do as the aggressor requested
Use of Force to Protect Others

An actor may legally use deadly force in Monmouth County to protect others in the same manner that the law allows actors to protect themselves. The actor must also reasonably believe the person being protected would be allowed to use the same amount of force and that the actor’s intervention is required to protect the other person, as established by N.J.R.S. §2C:3-5.

Use of Force in the Home

According to N.J.R.S. §2C:3-4, a person does not have to retreat when inside their home unless they were the one who started the conflict in question. If they were not, the actor may only use deadly force if they believe it is immediately necessary to protect themselves or other people in the home from the intruder’s unlawful force, as per N.J.R.S. §2C:3-6. The government does not allow the use of deadly force to protect personal property unless the actor’s life or bodily integrity is also at risk.

Additionally, the interaction with an intruder must be sudden and unexpected, have required the actor to take action immediately, and made the actor believe that the intruder would harm them or other people inside the home. Alternatively, the actor could have demanded that the intruder leave or give up their weapon, and the intruder refused to do so.

Speaking with an Attorney About Using Deadly Force Legally in Monmouth County

If you recently used deadly force to defend yourself, obtaining legal counsel may be vital. You have the right to protect yourself, but the police will carefully investigate any instance of deadly force and may charge you with a crime if they find you acted illegally.

It can be difficult to know whether the police will agree that your use of force was reasonable, but do not leave the consequences of their decision up to chance. In order to properly defend yourself against any potential charges the police may bring, begin working with an attorney today to understand your right to the legal use of deadly force in Monmouth County.