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Defending Your Rights: Asserting a Self-Defense Claim in Louisiana

As a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Louisiana, I’ve seen countless individuals facing criminal charges stemming from various circumstances.  But this afternoon, I have a phone call with a women stating she has been arrested after shooting her husband in self defense.  She did not kill him (thankfully) but is now charged with attempted second degree murder and needs help from an attorney.   Basically…can we win the case and how so?  I think self defense is the number one common defense (especially in shootings).  Louisiana takes self-defense seriously, understanding how to assert this claim effectively can be the key to protecting your rights and securing a favorable outcome in your case.

Understanding Self-Defense in Louisiana:

Louisiana law recognizes the fundamental right to self-defense, which allows individuals to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their property from imminent harm. Under the “Castle Doctrine,” individuals have no duty to retreat when attacked in their home. Furthermore, Louisiana extends the principle of self-defense to situations beyond the home, provided that the threat is genuine and imminent.

Elements of a Self-Defense Claim:

To successfully assert a self-defense claim in Louisiana, you must establish several key elements:  (**Please not this is general, does not go into the “Castle Doctrine” as described above…that is for another blog.**)

  1. Imminent Threat: You must show that you faced an immediate and real threat of bodily harm or death. The threat must have been imminent, meaning there was no reasonable opportunity to escape or avoid the danger.
  2. Proportional Force: Your response must have been proportionate to the threat. Using deadly force to protect against a non-deadly threat is generally not justified.  (i.e. you couldn’t shoot someone for just yelling at you with no weapon)
  3. Reasonable Belief: You must demonstrate that you genuinely believed the use of force was necessary to protect yourself or others. Your belief must be reasonable under the circumstances, even if it later turns out that the threat was not as serious as you believed.
  4. No Provocation: You cannot have provoked the altercation or initiated the use of force. If you initiated the confrontation or used excessive force, your self-defense claim may be compromised. (i.e. if you start hitting someone and they hit back…you can’t then shot them with a gun)

You Should Seek Legal Counsel Immediately:

If you find yourself facing criminal charges in Louisiana and believe that self-defense is a viable defense, you must seek legal counsel immediately. As a criminal defense attorney with years of experience in the Louisiana legal system, I can help you navigate the complexities of your case.

Building a Strong Defense:

When you choose to work with an experienced attorney, we begin by thoroughly investigating the incident, collecting evidence, and interviewing witnesses. Building a strong self-defense case requires meticulous attention to detail. We’ll work together to ensure that your side of the story is heard and understood by the court.

Negotiation and Trial:

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may pursue negotiations with the prosecution to have your charges reduced or dropped. If a fair resolution cannot be reached, we are fully prepared to represent you at trial, vigorously advocating for your rights and presenting a compelling self-defense argument to the judge and jury.

Protecting Your Rights:

In Louisiana, asserting a self-defense claim is your right, but it’s not always straightforward. Prosecutors and law enforcement may not always see things from your perspective. That’s where I come in – to ensure that your rights are protected, and your defense is strong.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Louisiana and believe that self-defense played a role in the incident, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal assistance.  I am here to guide you through the legal process, build a robust defense, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.  Remember, asserting a self-defense claim is not an admission of guilt – it’s an assertion of your right to protect yourself and your loved ones in the face of imminent danger. Your future and your freedom are worth defending, and I’m here to help you do just that. Call us today at 504-434-7000 for a confidential consultation and take the first step towards protecting your rights and securing your future.