The Atlanta Police Department has reported that no charges are expected to be filed after three people were shot in a fight over a gun in SE Atlanta yesterday afternoon. One person ended up dying from a gunshot wound during the incident. According to reports, a man and woman began fighting inside the home, and during the altercation, the man shot the female with his handgun. Her husband came to her aid from another room and charged the original shooter and shot him.
The original shooter then escaped through a window and died in the backyard from the gunshot wound. The two other individuals involved are suffering from non-life-threatening injuries.
As an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will focus today's post on one of many Georgia Criminal Defenses - self-defense.
Self-Defense in Georgia
The Georgia Code defines self defense in Georgia by explaining when it is accepted and when it is not:
A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force; however, a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent commission of a forcible felony. O.C.G.A. §16-3-21.
Therefore, according to Georgia law, there are two elements that must be present before the use of deadly force is justified. First, the danger to either himself or a third person must be imminent; and second, he must reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to self or a third person.
If the charged crime is manslaughter or murder, and the accused argues self defense or defense of others as a justification for their actions, then the accused must establish that their reasonable belief that the use of force or deadly force was immediately necessary.
As an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney, I believe it is important to explain certain defenses that are used so commonly in movies and TV shows. Most people believe that self-defense is straightforward, but it's surprisingly not straightforward at all.
Situations like the story above are very rare, and honestly, not often heard of. Most of the time, the details of a case make it all the more difficult to prove something like self-defense.
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Georgia, contact our offices today.
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