consult a lawyer
This is a discussion on Immunity from civil action after a shooting? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have wondered about some of these cases where a DA charges someone involved in a self-defense shooting and the defendant is found innocent or ...
I have wondered about some of these cases where a DA charges someone involved in a self-defense shooting and the defendant is found innocent or charges are later dropped. In Oklahoma the law says your are immune from civil action if the court finds you immune for prosecution on the shooting.
In these cases where the court id not find you immune to prosecution and charges you with murder does this negate the immunity on the civil matter even if you are found to be not guilty?
MichaelF. A person who uses force, as permitted pursuant to the provisions of subsections B and D of this section, is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes charging or prosecuting the defendant.
G. A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force, but the law enforcement agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
H. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection F of this section.
consult a lawyer
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I am not a lawyer but the new WI castle law has similar if not exact wording and my understanding is that not guilty equals justified so you should be immune from civil action. If you get a professional opinion please let us know.
If found not guilty you should be reimbursed for expenses. A jury has decided that the prosecution was not justified and the facts didn't support the charges.
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Agree with the above replies. This is an attorney thing for a real answer that is specific to your state and its past cases. My reading is what others have said--if you have not been found guilty of anything (starting with initial actions by police and ending with a trial) you are not guilty and your shooting is a justified shooting--period/end of story. Civil immunity is in effect.
The last paragraph gives your answer. If sued and the court finds that you are immune from prosecution and you have been sued, then you are awarded reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred. The trick will be collecting the money that's due you from the person that sued you. The person that sued you may be sitting in jail. Meanwhile, you're still out the money.
"The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come." ~ Confucius
That's right, the court may award the money, but that don't mean you'll get it.
" The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." Thomas Jefferson
See...here..in the great state of NY you can still be sued civily in a self defense death even if found innocent of CRIMINAL charges.....Civil is Just a MONEY thing here for the most part as I know it......
Look at O.J. perfect example...no immunity in NY...........
Please...work HARDER as MILLIONS on welfare depending on YOU !!
The whole civil-action thing is a very gray area even when state statutes seem to indicate one would be free from civil action pursuant to a shooting being justified under the law or after being found not-guilty of any "routine" charges a DA may be obligated to file against a defensive shooter to legally resolve the incident in court records and clear the person from any future legal actions or questionable marks on their personal record.
Unfortunately, I understand that many legal "end-runs" around seemingly protective state statutes have been made where civil action was later brought against the self-defensive shooter by the BG (or surviving family) that are not related to the shooting itself (e.g. inflicting bodily harm, medical expenses, rights violations, etc.) but in the violin-playing arena of a family who's been left destitute, starving children eating their pet hamsters, and all suffering emotional trauma from BG's lost income, inability to work, or missing his wonderful and wholesome family presence - all because you chose to hurt him instead of running away.
I'm certainly no attorney and don't have the flexible character it takes to be one; but after going through many court hearings from past justified shootings, I can promise you that even an LEO is not safe from the totally unpredictable whims of a generally liberal (criminal or civil) court system. Whether you wear a badge or not, and even if your LE agency has its own legal staff or not, I strongly advise anyone who carrys a gun to also carry their own personal firearms legal insurance as faithfully as they carry their weapon because dropping the hammer is only the "starter pistol" for the lengthy legal event that will be ongoing for months to come.
For around $200 per year, you can usually find reputable legal agencies through the NRA or state rifle association who specialize in firearms-related legal insurance that begins as soon as you squeeze the trigger or in the event you are unduly hassled by any LE agent for any reason. Other than presenting your required identifications, presenting your legal card (with its instructions to any LE) allows you to keep your mouth shut, call the legal agency, and remain silent until your specialist attorney arrives to be present with you wherever necessary. Most all agencies will represent you through any ensuing criminal and civil actions, arrange bail if necessary, quickly ensure return of your weapon as soon as possible, and represent your best interests from beginning to end without any additional legal fees.
As mentioned by others, vaguely worded state statutes exempting you from certain civil actions does not prevent you from being sued and dragged into court; and, as also already mentioned, being exonerated of any liability by state statutes and awarded judgement for your thousands in legal fees doesn't mean you'll ever collect them - or, for only about $200 per year, you can save all that possible expense and only worry about making sure you're always within the law when carrying or using your firearm.
It's a sad event to know the world is full of hungry and unscrupulous attorneys looking to represent the lowest of scumbags and try screwing anybody they can out of a buck for any reason regardless of how rediculous and unfounded it may be. So, when you consider that we carry firearms to defend ourselves from BGs with firearms, we're seriously lacking in our arsenal unless we're also carrying a constantly available attorney to equally defend ourselves from the BG's lawyers as well.
So, when you consider that we carry firearms to defend ourselves from BGs with firearms, we're seriously lacking in our arsenal unless we're also carrying a constantly available attorney to equally defend ourselves from the BG's lawyers as well.
Here all this time I thought this is what the BUG is for.
Iowa has always taught in its PCW classes (until they were no longer required) that you could be legally right, morally right and civilly liable...
However, in the criminal code under homicide and related crimes (Chapter 707 of the Iowa code) we find this:
In Iowa Reasonable Force is defined in Chapter 704:707.6 Civil liability.
No person who injures the aggressor through application of reasonable force in defense of the person’s person or property may be held civilly liable for such injury.
No person who injures the aggressor through application of reasonable force in defense of a second person may be held civilly liable for such injury.
The Force chapter (704) continues with a definition of Deadly Force:704.1 Reasonable force.
“Reasonable force” is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat. Reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used even if an alternative course of action is available if the alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment.
So, I've bolded the important parts...704.2 Deadly force.
The term “deadly force” means any of the following:
1. Force used for the purpose of causing serious injury.
2. Force which the actor knows or reasonably should know will create a strong probability that serious injury will result.
3. The discharge of a firearm, other than a firearm loaded with less lethal munitions and discharged by a peace officer, corrections officer, or corrections official in the line of duty, in the direction of some person with the knowledge of the person’s presence there, even though no intent to inflict serious physical injury can be shown.
4. The discharge of a firearm, other than a firearm loaded with less lethal munitions and discharged by a peace officer, corrections officer, or corrections official in the line of duty, at a vehicle in which a person is known to be.
As used in this section, “less lethal munitions” means projectiles which are designed to stun, temporarily incapacitate, or cause temporary discomfort to a person without penetrating the person’s body.
and I take from them, this:
I can use reasonable force and even deadly force (discharge my firearm) to protect myself or a third party, IF:
- Against a like force or threat (deadly force against deadly force).
- Against a lesser threat PERHAPS, if not using deadly force or retreating would endanger my life or safety, or the life or safety of another involved party.
- Against anyone if not doing so would require me to retreat from (I read this (retreat from) as leave the property completely) if it is in my home, my work place, or my place of employment.
If someone is holding a knife at me (but not on me) I might be able to use deadly force, or at least hold him with a gun pointed at him (stalemate). Once he moves toward me, I can probably use deadly force by discharging my weapon. Unless I could; say, roll up my car window and drive off or some other retreat which does not further endanger me.
If the knife is held at another person, I might be able to use deadly force because my retreating (leaving) might put the other person at risk of danger (opposite of safety) or death.
If the invasion is in my home. place of employment, or my business, I only have to retreat to somewhere else within the premises (the safe room/gun room/bedroom), if I am able to, safely. If I am unable to retreat within the house/job/business I am justified in using deadly force.
If I'm in my living room, and someone barges in the front door and they are between me and the safe room (whichever that is; bedroom, gun room, safe room), I can kill them where they stand as long as they can harm me with some sort of force (whatever they broke in with, crowbar/bat/jersey boot, what have you). If they are just standing there, I can't kill 'em as long as they are not demonstrating the ability to use force against me.
If I'm in my kitchen, and he comes in the front door, I am probably able to retreat to my safe room. If they come to that and barge in, I am probably justified to use deadly force against whatever force they are demonstrating, since I can retreat no farther unless I retreat from the dwelling completely, and I am not required to do so.
I am not a lawyer... But that's how I reason the law out... I could be wrong... but if I am, I think it's on the side of going further than I have to to NOT use deadly force.
As far as being wrongly prosecuted, I don't believe I can recoup any of my costs to defend myself from the state..., but once found not guilty of using un-"reasonable force" I would not likely be civilly sued (successfully).
It could be worse!
You will find that none of the is truly "INSURANCE." they will not pay for your defense up front, unless they determine you are probably not guilty, and then only a limited amount. If you are found not guilty, you may get reimbursement for your fees.
But you cannot be guaranteed "legal defense insurance" short of paying a retainer to an attorney who may have to defend you at some later date. And then, he only has to defend you 'til your retainer runs out or refund the remainder of your retainer.
It could be worse!
let face it you can get sues if and when a shooting happens by no only the BG but other that are involved. what I did was look into a legal defense fund and I had my homeowners libility insurance raised a million dollars to cover anyone that comes after me for damages (4 dollars more a year for an extra 700,000 more in coverage; talk to you agent. I could not belevie it my self and neither could my agent so she call the underwriter to confirm and I have it in writing). not sure if it is against the rules here but there are 4 of them that seem to be the main ones
the nra ................................NRA Endorsed Insurance Program Self-Defense Liability Coverage
the armed citizen...................Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, Inc.
texas law shield..for texans.....Texas Law Shield........... (this one has a clause in it where you can get dropped if it gets costly)
edit:I read some of the other posts from earlier threads and understand that none of these insurance programs will cover you if you are “IN THE WRONG”. The only one that will do that is a pre-paid or cash up front lawyer
Last edited by barstoolguru; December 1st, 2011 at 04:38 PM.