During the last Afghan civil war, the warlords that ruled their territory later became U.S. allies in our fight against the Taliban in Iraq. Now, an American Green Beret, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, who refused to ignore the child molestations he witnessed overseas, is fighting for his career. Mr. Martland beat an Afghan militiaman who kidnapped a 12-year-old boy and chained him to his bed as a sex slave whilst stationed in Afghanistan. He was formally reprimanded for assaulting an Afghan police officer, and he is not the only one (Sgt. Dan Quinn was punished for freeing a child back in September). Soldiers who are sent overseas are often instructed to ignore the corruption and violence committed upon the local populace.
While this sad story occurred overseas, it is a stark reminder that Americans face criminal charges or legal consequences every day for defending themselves or others in need from danger.
Self Defense as a Legal Defense
It is important to note that California does have a “stand your ground law” but it is not codified in statute nor the state constitution. Rather, it appears in the California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM), which allows a jury to acquit someone based on a stand-your-ground defense. The instruction appears in CALCRIM #505 and #506.
Under California’s “stand your ground” law, you are in no obligation to retreat if you or someone else are being physically threatened. The legal defense of self-defense under California law means that you cannot be found guilty of a violent crime (ie. assault, battery) that you committed in order to protect yourself or someone else, as long as your conduct was reasonable under the circumstances. This applies to circumstances such as being robbed, being burglarized, assaulted, raped, or threatened. Reasonable circumstances mean that you:
- Reasonably believed you or someone else was in imminent danger;
- You needed to use force to prevent the danger from happening;
- You used no more force than necessary to prevent it from happening.
California law allows you to defend your property from harm. See CA Penal Code § 198.5. This right covers both real property (like a house or land) and personal property (money, cars, jewelry, etc.). In order to call upon the “defense of property” defense, you must be able to show that:
- The threat of harm to your property was imminent (ie. you were being held up for your car);
- You used reasonable force/no more than necessary to defend it.
In these instances, the defense of a pet such as a dog is also covered because animals are considered property under the law.
San Diego Self-Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of David M. Boertje handles all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases including felony murder charges, all violent crimes, attempted murder, and assault and battery. We also handle those charged with assault and battery while acting out in self-defense. We have successfully represented many defendants and make your constitutional rights and freedom our top priority. If you have been charged with unlawful possession of firearms, do not hesitate to contact attorney David Boertje today for a free and confidential consultation.