Follow Us    |Facebook

Call or Text for a Free Consultation


How the Defense of Self-Defense Works in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

Orland Park Criminal Defense LawyerIt sometimes happens that innocent people are arrested on suspicion of committing a violent crime when in reality, they were merely defending themselves. This is disturbingly common in domestic violence cases, where the victim is mistaken for the primary aggressor and arrested. It can also happen after a fight in which one person initiated an attack and the victim capably defended himself. This has even been known to happen in murder cases. If you had to defend yourself against someone who became a physical threat to you and were arrested, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may have a valid self-defense case that could get your case dismissed or get you acquitted at trial. 

When Can a Person Use Force in Self-Defense?

There are a few conditions that must be met before you are entitled to use force in self-defense. In Illinois, they are: 

  • Danger - There was an imminent danger to you or another person. In some cases, a threat to your property will suffice. 

  • Illegal - The threat must have been unlawful. This condition is nearly always met. 

  • Belief - You must show that you genuinely believed there was a threat that you needed to use force to guard against. 

  • Proportionality - The type and level of force used in self-defense must be roughly equal to the threat you faced. For example, you probably cannot shoot someone who was trying to slap you. 

  • Victim - You cannot attack someone first and then claim self-defense if they retaliate. 

What Are the Two Types of Force Used in Self-Defense?

There are two levels of force: regular force, and deadly force. Deadly force is any force that causes or is meant to cause serious bodily injury or death. The use of weapons often falls into the category of deadly force. 

Deadly force can only be used when you reasonably believe that it is necessary to protect you or someone else from imminently being killed, seriously hurt, or harmed by another forcible felony, like rape or robbery. For example, if you spot someone brandishing a knife and yelling “I am going to kill you!” while chasing another person down the street, deadly force is probably justified in order to save the person being chased from getting murdered.

Regular force is force that stops someone from moving freely or is not likely to cause any major injury. It can be used to protect yourself, another person, your home, or your property. For example, if you spot someone trying to steal your laptop from a cafe, it is probably alright to grab them by the arm so they cannot keep walking away. 

You should also be aware that there is a different set of rules that apply if you are in your own home and dealing with an intruder. 

Call an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you were charged with a violent offense while defending yourself, your property, or another person, Issa Law, LLC can help. Our skilled Orland Park criminal defense attorneys will bring to light the full set of facts and circumstances to show that you were acting in reasonable self-defense. Call 708-966-2408 for a free consultation. 



Back to Top