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When is Self-Defense Available in an Oklahoma Criminal Case?

A person in Oklahoma who is under investigation or has been placed under arrest for a violent crime, whether it be assault or a homicide crime, can avoid criminal liability if there is evidence to support the defense that the person acted in self-defense within the scope of Oklahoma’s self-defense statute. Oklahoma law provides broad protections for those who reasonably acted in defense of themselves or others, and an experienced criminal defense attorney will make a compelling case for self-defense to prosecutors, judges, and juries in seeking out a dropped investigation or not guilty finding.

Self-Defense in Your Home or Business

Oklahoma law provides strong self-defense protections for persons who use physical or deadly force in their home or business (whether as owner or employee) when the “victim” is a person unlawfully entering or who has unlawfully entered the home or business by force, or is attempting to use force to unlawfully remove another person from the home or business.

These self-defense protections will not apply, however, when the victim was lawfully in the home or business or was trying to retrieve children or grandchildren in their custody. Furthermore, people who are engaged in illegal activities inside the home or business (e.g. drug trafficking) may not be able to successfully assert self-defense as a defense to a violent act.

Self-Defense In Other Locations: “Stand Your Ground”

The law in Oklahoma also provides strong protections for persons even when they are not in their home or business, so long as they were lawfully positioned, e.g. not trespassing or jaywalking in the middle of the street. Oklahoma law has a so-called “stand your ground law” which states:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

What this means is that a private citizen in Oklahoma, unlike those in states with “duty to retreat” laws, is not required to pursue a safe retreat from an attack before using force against an attacker. Instead, a person may use force if it was reasonable for that person to believe doing so was necessary to avoid death, serious injuries, or to prevent another from committing a forcible felony.

Do Not Attempt to Prove Self-Defense to Police on Your Own

All that said, a non-lawyer should never attempt to explain to police why he was within the purview of Oklahoma’s self-defense law, as that information you provide can be used against you to build a strong criminal case for your conviction. You should always contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate the situation and speak to law enforcement on your behalf.

Tough Criminal Defense to Fight Oklahoma Charges

Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian has the knowledge, experience, and tenacity to fight your violent crime charges and work towards a closed investigation, dismissal of charges, not guilty verdict, or other favorable outcome. Contact the office of J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, today at 405.294.4448 to schedule a free consultation to see what his criminal defense team can do for you.