What are the self-defense laws in New York?

When confronted with a physical threat many people wonder whether they have the right to defend themselves and the extent to which they can use force. New York law permits the use of force for self-defense in certain circumstances. The use of physical force would otherwise constitute a criminal act if not used for self-defense purposes. That said, if you have been charged with a criminal offense involving some form of assault or violent crime, you may be able to claim self-defense. This may help you avoid criminal prosecution. Keep reading to learn about self-defense laws in New York and discover how a seasoned Rockland County Criminal Defense Attorney can help you avoid harsh penalties for exercising your rights. 

What is self-defense in New York?

In New York, self-defense provides individuals with the right to protect themselves from physical harm under certain circumstances. Essentially, it is a defense based on the justification for using physical force to protect oneself or a third party from serious bodily harm or death. However, before an individual can resort to using physical force to defend themselves from an aggressor they must make an effort to retreat. In New York, individuals have a duty to retreat. This duty obliges you to remove yourself from the conflict to a safe place or de-escalate the situation. If you cannot withdraw yourself from the situation, you can use physical force to defend yourself or another party. However, physical force is not permitted in cases where an individual is engaged in an unlawful activity or you are the initial aggressor.

Can you stand your ground in New York?

In some states, they have “stand your ground” laws that allow an individual to employ deadly physical force when confronted with an imminent threat of physical harm in their home. They do not have a duty to retreat before using force to defend themselves. In New York, there are certain exceptions where the duty to retreat does not apply. If someone is using deadly physical force to harm you in your home and you are not the initial aggressor, you can use deadly force without retreating to defend yourself. Additionally, the duty to retreat does not apply when an aggressor commits robbery or arson. They also don’t have the duty to retreat when protecting themselves from a person involving violent crimes. That said, if deadly physical force is used to defend oneself against deadly force, you likely have a solid self-defense claim.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense after acting in self-defense, contact a skilled Rockland County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Carl Spector today. Our firm is prepared to work tirelessly to prove you were within your rights to use physical force to defend yourself or another party from an imminent threat of physical danger.