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Is Self-Defense a Violent Crime?

No, self-defense is not a violent crime. Instead, self-defense is a defense to various violent crimes, including murder, battery, and assault. The legal defense can be used when a victim intentionally injures or kills an attacker who threatens them with immediate physical harm or inflicts bodily injuries. Self-defense occurs when the victim uses physical force to protect themselves and stop or avoid being harmed.

Justifiable Homicide a Self-Defense in Oklahoma

When most people hear the word “homicide,” they immediately think about a serious violent crime. However, homicide is not always a violent crime. As absurd as it might sound, homicide can be lawful. Oklahoma law recognizes “justifiable homicide” as the killing of another person that can be justified.

Under21 OK Stat § 21-733, justifiable homicide occurs when a person kills another person to:

  • Defend themselves against an assault, murder, or any other violent felony;
  • Defend their dwelling house from felony crimes;
  • Defend another person from being seriously harmed or killed; or
  • Stop or apprehend a person for any felony committed, suppress any riot, or attempt to keep and preserve the peace.

What are Self-Defense Laws in Oklahoma?

The State of Oklahoma recognizes that the use of physical or deadly force may be justified for the protection of yourself or others against people who commit felonies, cause serious harm, or threaten their safety.

Self-defense laws in Oklahoma are comprised of three doctrines:

  • Castle Doctrine. The old adage says that a man’s home is his castle, which is why the first self-defense doctrine is called the “Castle Doctrine” in Oklahoma. The doctrine allows homeowners to use physical and lethal force to defend themselves against an intruder if there is a reasonable belief that they are at risk of serious bodily injury or death.
  • Make My Day. Under 21 OK Stat § 21-1289.25, people have a right to protect themselves and use physical and lethal force in their homes, other people’s residences, businesses, and occupied vehicles against a person who made or attempted to make an unlawful and forcible entry onto the dwelling.
  • Stand Your Ground. Under the doctrine, a person has no legal duty to retreat or attempt to flee a dangerous situation when another person engages in illegal activities. The doctrine allows that person to protect themselves and others by using any degree of physical force when their lives are in jeopardy.

Exceptions and Limitations on Self-Defense in Oklahoma

There are situations in which the use of physical or deadly force against another person is not justifiable. Some exceptions and limitations on self-defense in Oklahoma are:

  • Physical force is used against a person who has a legal right to be in the house, dwelling, occupied vehicle, or place of business;
  • The person against whom force is used is lawfully removing or attempting to remove children under their legal custody; and
  • The person who uses physical or deadly forces is engaged in criminal or any illegal activity.

The use of force is not justifiable in any of these situations. Even though self-defense is not a violent crime in Oklahoma, the person who used defensive force against another individual should consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to protect their rights and prove that self-defense was necessary. Contact our attorneys at Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker to discuss your particular situation. Call at 580.765.9660 to schedule a free consultation.

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