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How is imminent danger established in self-defense?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | Violent crimes

Generally, most people are law-abiding citizens who do everything in their power to stay away from trouble. Still, society abhors violent or forceful behaviors that might lead to personal harm and have laws in place to deter such behaviors. But what happens if you find yourself in a situation where you or someone else is in danger?

Maryland self-defense laws allow you to protect yourself from harm as long as you apply reasonable force in doing so. These laws also allow you to use reasonable force in defense of other people. Thus, if you are charged with bodily harm, or even causing death, one of the defense options you can claim is self-defense. However, for self-defense to hold, certain elements must be satisfied. One of these is the existence of imminent danger.

So what is imminent danger and how do you establish it?

Sometimes, an individual can argue self-defense as a legal excuse for an otherwise criminal act. However, it is important to understand that you can only argue self-defense if you believe you or someone else faced imminent danger.

A danger is deemed imminent when the threat in question is immediate or present. This means that the threat must occur in your presence. Danger may not be imminent for a past threat or one that you think will happen in the future. In other words, the threat of harm must be occurring at the exact moment.

Here is an example: if someone draws a weapon at you, or is in the act of committing rape against another person in your presence, the threat of danger would be deemed imminent and the use of force to protect yourself or the rape victim justified.

If you are charged with a violent crime, you need to explore your defense options. Find out how you can effectively argue self-defense when charged with a violent crime like homicide.