Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Georgia Homeowner Justifiably Uses Self Defense

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

According to reports out of Gwinnett County, a suspect who was arrested in 2019 for aggravated assault in Georgia has been convicted of that offense this past week.

Officers arrived at a local home in January of 2019 when they discovered a man in the front lawn bleeding from his head. Officers quickly learned that the injured man was actually the one who started the incident by holding a firearm to the homeowner's head during what was described as a domestic dispute.

The homeowner then proceeded to defend himself and succeeded in that defense. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, it is important for me to note that there are times where Georgia Criminal Defenses apply. This can be a difficult concept to understand. In today's post, I will outline when self-defense applies in Georgia and in what circumstances is it justifiable.

Self Defense in Georgia

Self defense in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. §16-3-21 as:

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.

This means that there must be two elements present before self defense is justified by law.

  1. The danger must be imminent,
  2. And there must be a reasonable belief that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to self or a third person.

If these two elements are met, then self defense could provide a total defense to a criminal offense.

Practice Note

The concept of self defense is thrown around a lot by the media. However, as you can see by the law above, it is not something that can just be easily applied. Someone looking to apply a legal defense should always consult representation. Call now.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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