Andrew Branca: Claim Self-Defense While Committing A Crime? Sure

I often run across the misconception that in order to claim self-defense it’s a necessary condition that the defender be “white as the driven snow,” and certainly not be engaged in any unlawful activity of his own at the time.

While being utterly innocent of any misconduct of any kind is certainly helpful in a general way in any kind of criminal defense, it’s explicitly not a required condition of a claim of self-defense.

Naturally, if the crime being committed violates one of the required conditions of self-defense, then you lose self-defense on that basis. So if the crime you are committing is one involving the threat of unlawful force against another person, as one example, you’ve lost the required element of innocence and you’ve lost self-defense on that basis.

Claim Self-Defense While Committing A Crime? Sure

OK, I am going to admit here and now I was one of those who believed you had to be angelic to claim self-defense. Drug dealer engaged in business gets robbed at gunpoint and defends himself? I would have expected he would get a substantial time in prison.

Go read the rest of the article as it is short and sweet.

And I will continue te be angelic in my dealings with fellow human beings.

2 Replies to “Andrew Branca: Claim Self-Defense While Committing A Crime? Sure”

  1. In Missouri you will be convicted of second degree murder (felony murder) if someone is killed during your commission of a felony, and it doesn’t matter if it was self defense or not.

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