April 18, 2023 | Kentucky Law
In Kentucky, you have the right to defend yourself. Unfortunately, sometimes people are still charged with a crime, like assault, after defending themselves – even if they did so lawfully.
A Kentucky criminal defense lawyer can help you argue self-defense to win your case and get your criminal charges dismissed.
When Is Self-Defense Allowed in Kentucky?
Normally, you cannot use force or violence against another person. The exception is when using self-defense.
Self-defense is when you use reasonable force to protect yourself or others from an imminent attack. However, the right to defend yourself is not unlimited. There are certain rules that you must follow if you need to act in self-defense.
Use of Force
You can use force against someone if you believe that it is necessary to protect yourself or others. There is no limit on the type of force that you can use, but you must believe that it is necessary.
This means that the force is reasonable or proportionate to the harm that you expect to be committed. For example, if someone is about to push you onto a grassy surface, it may be unreasonable to stab them. That’s because you could easily push them, hit them, kick them, use pepper spray, or do something similar to defend yourself.
However, if someone is about to push you off of a 100-foot ledge, it may be acceptable to use more force. After all, falling from a 100-foot ledge would be deadly. More force is often necessary to repel a more violent attack.
Use of Deadly Force
You can use deadly force against someone in Kentucky, but only in limited circumstances. Unlike other states, there is no duty to retreat as long as you are in a place where you are allowed to be. This is referred to as a stand your ground law.
For example, you can use deadly force to protect yourself against:
- Serious physical injury
- A felony involving force
- Home invasion (according to the Castle Doctrine)
You cannot use deadly force in any other circumstance. As long as you reasonably believe that you are in danger of becoming a victim of one of the offenses above, deadly force is justified.
Castle Doctrine Laws
Castle doctrine laws are somewhat controversial around the United States. The castle doctrine gives people in Kentucky the right to use deadly force to defend their homes from invasion without the requirement to retreat.
The law presumes that you are in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm if someone is in the act of breaking into your home, or has already broken into your home.
However, there are a few exceptions, such as:
- If the person has a legal right to be on or in the property
- You use deadly force while also engaged in an illegal activity or using the home to further an illegal activity
- If the person attempting to enter is a peace officer performing their official duties
After you use deadly force, you should call 911 to get medical treatment and police on the scene. You may also want to consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney immediately, even if you aren’t yet facing any charges.
When Doesn’t Self-Defense Apply in Kentucky?
Sometimes self-defense doesn’t apply in Kentucky. For example, you cannot use self-defense to resist a lawful arrest. You also cannot use self-defense if you provoked the attack or if you were the initial aggressor.
If you are the initial aggressor, you can communicate your desire to end the altercation and retreat. If the other person continues to use violence, you can defend yourself. Furthermore, if you are the initial aggressor and the other person responds with deadly force, you can defend yourself.
Contact the Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
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