Get Peace Of Mind With

An Unmatched Defense

Photo of attorney JW Carney Jr.

3 important facts about Massachusetts’s self-defense laws

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

The state of Massachusetts takes a firm stance on violent criminal activity. The state investigates assaults and homicides, and police officers arrest those accused of intentionally harming others. Those convicted of violent offenses may serve time in prison and may struggle to rebuild their lives due to the impact that a criminal record has on their future.

Not everyone accused of assault or a similar offense is an unstable and dangerous person. Some people face criminal charges because they responded to another person’s act of aggression. It is sometimes possible to defend against criminal charges by raising a claim that someone has acted in self-defense.

There may be a duty to retreat

Some states have stand-your-ground laws. These special statutes protect the right of self-defense in any location where a person can legally be. Someone at the grocery store threatened by another customer could defend themselves physically without trying to leave the situation first. That is not necessarily true in Massachusetts. There is no stand-your-ground statute in place. However, there is no duty to retreat if someone acts in self-defense because of someone unlawfully entering their living space.

The need for self-defense must be reasonable

Massachusetts allows defendants accused of a criminal offense to present evidence intended to convince the courts that they acted in self-defense. To do so, it is necessary to establish that another reasonable person would view the situation as threatening. If another individual is unlikely to feel that physical force is necessary for self-protection in the same situation, then the defendant may have a hard time establishing that they acted in self-defense.

Self-defense applies to the protection of others too

Contrary to what the name implies, claims of self-defense are not only available to those who fear for their own safety. Self-defense statutes can also extend protection to those who act in defense of friends and family members. In fact, intervening in a crime in progress to protect a stranger could also give someone grounds for an affirmative defense.

A thorough review of the state’s evidence can help someone determine the best response to violent criminal charges. Proving that someone acted in self-defense could theoretically help that individual avoid a criminal conviction.


RSS Feed