Individuals who have confronted intruders, either in their home or in a public area, recently made headlines regarding the use of deadly force. This is an example of the proliferation of firearms of individuals who feel threatened, as well as the legislative acknowledgement that law-abiding citizens should be able to protect themselves by carrying concealed weapons and creating the presumption that the use of deadly force was legitimate in an individual's home.
As indicated in my previous articles regarding the Castle Doctrine and the Concealed Carry legislation, individuals who attempt to carry concealed weapons must obtain a permit to do so. I have gone through a class, even though it wasn't necessary. I found it extremely helpful in explaining the aspects as to when to shoot and when not to shoot. The public must understand that this is reality and not as it appears on television — when a decision is made to display a firearm and point it in the direction of another, deadly force will likely be used and must be contemplated by the individual carrying the firearm. Once the trigger is pulled, there is no going back. Unfortunately, it is a grisly scene that is created as a result of this action. One thing to remember if, in fact, this unfortunate circumstance presents itself, is to immediately ensure there are no other individuals in the vicinity who have been struck, and there are no other individuals with firearms in your immediate area who may fire back at you. Secondly is attempting medical intervention, if possible, to the wounded individual. Lastly, you should ensure that 911 is immediately called and inform the operator that you lawfully and legally used deadly force against an intruder, felt threatened, and felt you had no choice as you believed your life was in jeopardy.
When law enforcement responds, it has no idea who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. If you have a firearm in your hand and turn in the direction of the officers, you will be most certainly be shot. Therefore, it is imperative that the intruder or bad guy is not mobile, and that you place your firearm in a location that is not accessible to any individual. You then wait for the arrival of law enforcement. When the officers arrive, it is critically important that you show them your hands, indicate that you shot the intruder and you believed your life was in jeopardy. More than likely, you will be ordered to the ground and taken into custody for a short period of time. It is also critically important that you continually inform the officers that you felt threatened, believed your life was in jeopardy and death or great bodily harm was imminent, and that you had no choice but to use deadly force to protect yourself. Remember, you cannot use deadly force to protect property — only as a means to protect yourself. You must inform the officers where the firearm is located, and it will be confiscated.
You will likely be questioned as to the circumstances of the shooting. This is the time to request your legal counsel. One aspect that will be discussed in future articles concerns civil liability that may result from the use of deadly force. You should be aware that homeowner policies and umbrella policies will likely not protect you in this type of situation, as this is an intentional act. Most policies exclude intentional acts. There are organizations, however, that do offer policies for this type of situation. This firm can direct you to those companies.
Recently, I have been retained by a number of individuals who are not in need of legal representation at this time, but who have a concealed carry license and want to ensure that have legal counsel in the event they are involved in such an unfortunate episode. I am then immediately available to my clients when I am called. Having legal counsel on retainer is something to think about. It is a small investment and puts the law on your side when your lawyer can respond at any time. Hopefully, this type of situation will never present itself in your life.
Psychological counseling is often a sound idea after being involved in the use of deadly force. It is a very emotional and psychologically tragic event to seriously wound or take another's life. It is often extremely beneficial to seek the guidance of a therapist to aid you in dealing with the many emotions that will likely arise.
Bucher Law Group, LLC, has a vast amount of experience in this area of the law, and is ready to assist you prior to, during and after any unfortunate episode concerning the use of deadly force.