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The Ins and Outs of Claiming Self Defense in Illinois

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:24 am

claiming self defense, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, self defense claim, unlawful force, Illinois criminal defenseIn law and order television programs, characters seen under attack are often able to fight their attackers. In these dramatic scenes, the aggressors end up dead. Viewers are led to believe that everything will work out for the victims as they tell the authorities that they reacted in self defense, killing their attackers, and they are then able to simply return home.

While it is true that in America self defense is an affirmative defense (i.e. a defense that will negate liability even if the defendant committed the alleged acts) it should be noted that claiming self defense is actually a bit more complicated in reality. 

The Components of a Successful Self Defense Claim in Illinois

Illinois’ self defense statute contained in 720 ILCS 5/6-4 (also sometimes referred to as the use of force in defense of person statute), spells out the requirements that must be met in order for a criminal defendant to successfully argue that he or she was justified in using force to defend himself or herself.

Under this code section, a person is justified in using force against an individual who is threatening the imminent use of unlawful force if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary in order to defend themselves.

However, in order for a defendant to successfully assert this defense, he or she must also be able to demonstrate that the amount of force used was proper. In other words, if the defendant used force that was intended or likely to cause great bodily harm or death, then he or she must be able to demonstrate that such force was reasonably necessary to prevent himself or herself from great bodily harm or death.

In summary, you can only successfully claim that you acted in self defense in Illinois if your belief that you were in danger of an imminent unlawful force was reasonable and if the amount of force that you used to defend yourself did not exceed the level of force threatened.

Defense of Another

It should be noted that Illinois’ use of force in defense of person statute also provides an affirmative defense for a criminal defendant who used proportionate force against an aggressor if he or she reasonably believed that such conduct was necessary in order to defend another against the imminent threat of an unlawful force. This means that you are justified in using force to defend someone else from an imminent unlawful threat of force as long as you reasonably believe that your conduct is necessary to defend against the attack and you do not use force that exceeds the level of force threatened.

Have You Been Accused of Committing a Crime? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing a crime and are searching for an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our well respected firm defends clients throughout the greater Chicago area against a wide variety of criminal charges and would be happy to assist you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=8200000&SeqEnd=9700000

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