It is not unusual to feel worried when walking down the street alone in the dark. What if someone attempts to rob you? What if someone with a gun pops out of nowhere? What if you witness someone being assaulted right across the street? What do you do under such circumstances?
Fortunately, California law allows you to act in self-defense in these kinds of situations — but only if you do so with proportional force. In other words, your reaction and use of force have to be reasonable under the circumstances. For instance, using pepper spray on someone who is attempting to snatch your bag would be considered self-defense. However, shooting and killing someone who verbally threatened you from across the street probably would not.
Here are three conditions that must be met for self-defense to be justifiable in California:
The right to claim force in self-defense is subject to a number of exceptions. You cannot argue self-defense under the following circumstances:
When someone is threatening your safety or others around you, the law allows you to fight back to protect yourself or the person in danger. However, in so doing, it is important to know when you can defend yourself legally and when you cannot.