blog Violent Crime How Do Self-Defense Claims Actually Work?

How Do Self-Defense Claims Actually Work?

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on January 10, 2023

Self-defense is one of the most sensitive aspects of the legal system, as claims are hotly contested. If you are attacked or in a situation that poses a great risk to your safety, you have the right to self-defense. There are many aspects of self-defense claims that you should know. Read on to find out how self-defense claims work and what Colorado law says about them.

Self-Defense Laws in Colorado

Self-defense is legally defined as a defense against a criminal accusation or impending attack that puts you in danger. This quietly admits that you committed a crime but argues that you only did it because you wanted to protect yourself from harm. If a Summit County self-defense claim is successful, it will justify that a crime was committed. It also means that you were only acting out of self-protection and preservation. If you present a successful self-defense argument, you will not be liable for the crime committed. However, to prove a self-defense claim in Colorado, you must prove that:

  • You believed beyond reasonable doubt that immediate force was required to protect yourself
  • You believed beyond reasonable doubt that you were about to suffer unlawful and imminent force
  • You used the degree of force that you believed was necessary to prevent the danger

How Much Force Can You Use in Self-Defense?

You can use any amount of force that you believe is necessary to protect you from impending danger. In many self-defense claims involving criminal activities, you are allowed to use as much force as you are being threatened with. While there is a threat to your safety, the degree of force you use to deal with this threat depends on the nature of the situation. In some circumstances, deadly force can be used in self-defense. However, to use deadly force, you must believe that:

  • You are in imminent and grave danger of being killed or being inflicted with deadly injuries
  • The assailant is committing a crime and is about to use physical force against the victim
  • The assailant is committing a robbery, kidnapping, felony assault, or sexual assault.

If any of these incidents happen in your home, you have the right to use deadly force. This is because the ability to use deadly force is maximum if you are within your home.

Can You Use Self-Defense to Protect Your Property?

You can use self-defense to protect your property. This is considered self-defense in Colorado, and you will not be liable for any crimes committed. However, you must use reasonable force that is appropriate to the situation at hand. You can use reasonable force to stop crimes like:

  • Unlawful entry and unlawful trespassing
  • Criminal mischief
  • Theft
  • Criminal tampering

Generally, people are not allowed to use deadly physical force to defend their property. Instead, you should use a lesser degree of force. Colorado law states that a person can only use deadly force to protect their property when keeping someone from committing arson.

Understanding Colorado’s Make My Day Law

This law allows the occupant of a house to use deadly force against an intruder if the occupant believes beyond reasonable doubt that the intruder intends to inflict physical force or commit a crime. No matter how slight the intention of the intruder is, the occupant can use deadly force on them. Occupants have no duty to retreat and may “stand their ground before confronting the intruder”. This can still be done even if the intruder has an easy means of escape.

Seek the Services of a Self-Defense Attorney

It can be very challenging to raise a self-defense argument, especially if many factors are involved. If you are involved in a self-defense case in Colorado, our dedicated and experienced Breckenridge criminal defense attorneys at Whitaker & Penix, LLC are here to help. Schedule your free consultation appointment by calling (970) 368-0602 today.

Posted in: Violent Crime