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Does claiming self-defense really work?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Self-defense has been a popular topic over the last few years, with some high-profile cases using it as a defense to violent crimes, such as murder.

Many times, Hawaii residents facing a criminal charge involving a murder want to claim self-defense. While it is potentially available as a defense, proving that you acted in self-defense can be incredibly challenging.

Hawaii self-defense law

The Hawaii self-defense statute states that a person may use deadly force if they believe that it is necessary to prevent their own death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, rape or forcible sodomy.

However, Hawaii does not have a “stand your ground” law. This means that you have a legal duty to get away from the situation before using deadly force.

This duty only applies to crimes taking place outside of your home. If a person is attempting to engage in any of the above acts against you inside your home, you may then use deadly force without first attempting to leave.

How do you know if you can get out safely?

If you find yourself in a violent confrontation with someone outside of your home, knowing if you can safely retreat from the situation is not always clear. Things are usually happening very quickly, and it can be hard to determine what your best option is for getting out of the situation.

Therefore, if you believe that you cannot safely remove yourself, and must use deadly force, you could potentially claim self-defense.

Your belief should be reasonable. For example, if a video of the incident showed that you were standing next to an open doorway and could have easily run out to safety, but you chose to kill the person anyway, your claim of self-defense might not be seen as valid.

Self-defense and your case

A murder charge is something to take seriously. You should make sure you understand all your rights and potential defenses by speaking with an experienced legal professional.