Will Self-Defense Get Me Into Trouble?

Being a trained martial artist you will probably have more power, skill, knowledge and technique to inflict serious bodily harm than the average guy on the street. Street self-defence seems to be one area that many people are unclear about. What can you do if attacked, provoked or threatened?

Well this section is here to clear that area up for everyone. These notes come directly from an officer of the police force.

Common Law

Common law states that force may be used to : prevent crime, arrest offenders, self defence or the defence of others, protect property or prevent a breach of the peace.

Breach Of The Peace

A breach of the peace occurs whenever there is the use, or the threat of the use, of violence, whether explicitly or implicitly made. Also when damage is being caused to ones property, or another property where the owner would wish you to prevent a person from damaging such.

Minimum use of force proportional to the danger faced, or perceived seriousness of the evil being prevented includes the right to a preemptive strike.

Minimum Amount Of Force

You would be justified in using a certain level of force against a 6'4" man who was attacking you, but would not be justified in using the same level of force against a 5'1" woman - depending on your relative size.

The Pre-emptive Strike

If you feel that you are about to be subject to such force that may result in the death or serious injury of yourself, then you may use such force that may result in the death or serious injury of the attacker. However once that threat has gone away, then you must step down your level of force.

In deciding whether a defendant exerted reasonable force in defending himself, a court must judge him on the basis of what, reasonably or unreasonably, he believed to be the facts, and not on the basis of what the facts actually were.