We at the Scott C. Brown Law Office have often worked with clients in Wheeling who have justified their allegedly violent actions towards others as being in self-defense. Like many, you may automatically roll your eyes at hearing such a defense until, of course, you are placed in a position where you or a loved one feel threatened. Many may retreat in such a scenario, hoping that law enforcement officials will come to their aid. Yet when no such support is guaranteed, you may wonder if you are legally justified to fight back.
According to the laws of the state, you are. Section 55-7-22 of the West Virginia Code states then in any home or residence in which you are a lawful occupant, you may use reasonable and proportionate force to either prevent the forcible entry of another or repel one who has attacked you or another of the home's occupants. Force that could result in serious bodily harm or death is permitted if it is believed that you must use it to prevent such things from being visited on you or your loved ones.
The same protection is afforded even if you are not in your residence, yet you still believe that the use of force (even deadly force) in necessary to avoid one injuring or killing you or another. In the past, the details of this law provided relief from civil action brought by one who was injured from you defending yourself from him or her. However, legislation was introduced in 2013 to extend that relief to criminal liability. You can learn more about defending yourself from criminal accusations by continuing to explore our site.