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I understand nobody is a lawyer here. But I realized today that I have no idea if someone pulls pepper spray or bear spray on me, would this be a justifiable self-defense scenario? Deadly or grievous bodily harm and all that?

On the surface I would say no. If I know it is pepper spray and they point it at me, no. If they point it at me and spray me, I still kinda lean no I could not use deadly force in self-defense.

I know you can't "what if" yourself into scenarios you have to go by each moment... but I'll ask anyway.... you get pepper sprayed, you're disabled, you can't see, you've been assaulted by the person with the pepper spray. At this point you can no longer see if they have another weapon (gun / knife) or know if they intend further grievous bodily harm? Still no? Since you can't see any longer, you'd have to wait until being shot at or stabbed before it would be justified?

Are there any court decisions, or laws in various states that say pepper / bear spray is or is not deadly force or grievous bodily harm and whether self-defense if justified?

Seems like kinda a gray area I'd like to know more about. Also realized that I'm surprised that in my CC courses that this has never come up as a scenario discussed.
 

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Guy pepper sprays you . . . what's his next course of action?
 

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@Jerome10 you don't mention what state you live in. THAT would be a BIG factor also. Good you understand that a question like this can't be specifically be answered here, but we probably don't live in your state, SO, any answer will have to be that much more generic. As @KILTED COWBOY mentioned, mitigating factors and "all that stuff". Me, I'd take it as ABH, IF someone just "up & sprayed me". Charges on that CAN very, depending.
 

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Being sprayed in the eyes nose or mouth can cause serious injury or death. Whether lethal response can be justified will be determined in court. I don't think any lawyer can guarantee the outcome. Like OldVet said, spraying someone with anything could be a prelude to a more serious assault - just like throwing sand in someone's face could be a prelude to a more serious assault. Take the safe course and wear a gas mask at all times.
 
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There's a whole lot of "what ifs" in a situation such as that. Is it a mob, an individual, location, too numerous to list. At any rate it is going to be iffy without a definitive threat to life.
 
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If I were on a jury where a defendant had filled a BG full of lead who had pepper-sprayed him, and the defendant claiming he feared a full-out physical assault on his very life was coming next, I would be very inclined to believe him, me being a most reasonable person!
 

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If you get pepper sprayed ... and you’re armed... and footsteps are getting closer.... wouldn’t you assume they mean you harm? Now, if that laughing is coming from your idiot friend, that’s another story.

Ok, it’s a tough question. On its face, being sprayed doesn’t rise to merit a lethal response. But, there could be contributing factors - being cornered in an alley, alone and out numbered, for example.
 

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I am 67, with respiratory issues. Pepper spray could be life threatening to me by itself. Poison.org says, "People with lung conditions, such as asthma (which I have) or COPD, can have more severe breathing effects when pepper spray is inhaled." A 1995 study by the National Institute of Justice looked at 63 people who died in custody in N. Carolina after exposure to pepper spray, found two of the deaths were directly related to the pepper spray and in both of those cases, the people who died had asthma. That is not a lot, but the asthma connection is there.

The next problem, as others have mentioned, is that if someone attacks you with pepper spray and you have done nothing to provoke that, there is a legitimate fear of what may happen next, once you are incapacitated. If someone tries another incapacitation method, like grabbing you and trying to tie you up, there is no question that even though that would not be life threatening in an of itself, it would justify lethal force. I think pepper spray would be no different.
 

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Whether you use lethal force is an issue spedific to your state and you should have a pdf copy of your state laws. If you can't figure it out from that, go pay a criminal defense attorney to advise you.

The key to any answer is: What is the law in YOUR state, not ours.
 

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Whether you use lethal force is an issue spedific to your state and you should have a pdf copy of your state laws. If you can't figure it out from that, go pay a criminal defense attorney to advise you.

The key to any answer is: What is the law in YOUR state, not ours.
Your specific suggestion relative to state law assumes that the OP is assaulted in his home state. What is more important is knowing statutory law and case law in the locale in which the assault occurs.

Your advice to consult an attorney is the only valid advice the OP should take from this thread.
 

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Whether you use lethal force is an issue spedific to your state and you should have a pdf copy of your state laws. If you can't figure it out from that, go pay a criminal defense attorney to advise you.

The key to any answer is: What is the law in YOUR state, not ours.
State laws generally talk about the level of threat, not the weapons used. I don't know of any that mention the use of force against pepper spray specifically. And as you know, half the law is the statute and the other half is case law, how it has been applied. I can't find an instance online where pepper spray has been used to commit a crime, although I imagine it has. But there would not be much case law on it. That's all lawyers have to go on, statutes and case law. So I doubt you would get a good answer.

I have two good lawyers in the family, one who was a prosecutor. I can't get a decent answer out of either of them.
 

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I'm not sure that some of the most important information related to owning and carrying a gun can be gleaned from a careful reading of the laws of the state you happen to be in. Since he didn't say where he was, and made no mention of travelling, one can assume that the best place to start with such knowledge is the place he happens to be standing.

Attorneys are hardly the only people who understand the law. It isn't rocket science. It's just a way people who probably couldn't handle any other profession can make money.
 

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Its all about context. I can certainly imagine a circumstance where I would feel that my life is in immediate danger from an attacker using OC spray. Especially if I perceive someone to be using OC in furtherance of a forcible felony. At the same time, I generally consider that level of danger resulting from the use of OC to be at the extreme far end of likely possibilities. I accept that a person armed with OC can be a deadly threat but just about anyone ( armed or not) can be. In my book, the threat of OC or even the use of OC is not an automatic or singular qualifier for life threatening jeopardy.
 

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No. It is the first or second rung on the escalation ladder.

The way it was described to me by an attorney you should be icy cold in fear before considering firing on someone. Being assaulted in and of itself doesn’t meet the standard. There are many factors that come into play and the grand jury will have the final say on charges if a DA chooses to pursue charges. Conditions will vary by state of course.

My CCW instructor from years ago put it this way. Be a real man. A real man doesn’t go looking for a fight. A real man will back down and walk away whenever possible. A real man won’t financially ruin his family with legal expenses. A real man won’t put his family’s livelihood at risk. A real man won’t put his wife and family in position to have to visit in prison. A real man will swallow his pride an put his family first. Be a real man.
 

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Recently, a police officer shor a perp who tried using a taser on another officer...and it was considered a justified shoot. I would think the same reasoning would apply in this scenario.

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I immediately considered that case too. But electronic disruption divices can only be carried with a concealed pistol license in MI. So that puts it on another level.

OP- I would say.. .probably no. Mostly. But sometimes, maybe.
 

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Recently, a police officer shor a perp who tried using a taser on another officer...and it was considered a justified shoot. I would think the same reasoning would apply in this scenario.

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This is a very abbreviated version of the police shooting that caused the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.

Brooks, wielding and firing a taser taken from a police officer in a scuffle, was shot and killed by Officer Garrett Rolfe. Shortly after the incident Rolfe was arrested for felony murder and ten other criminal charges. Rolfe maintains he fired in self defense.
 

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The way it was described to me by an attorney you should be icy cold in fear before considering firing on someone. Being assaulted in and of itself doesn’t meet the standard. There are many factors that come into play and the grand jury will have the final say on charges if a DA chooses to pursue charges. Conditions will vary by state of course.
In most instances, the DA will have the final say, not a grand jury.

A grand jury is a tool of the prosecutor. The grand jury only sees and hears evidence selected for their review by the prosecutor. The only lawyers in the grand jury chambers are the prosecutor and his/her associates. If the prosecutor wants an indictment, he/she will almost always get one. Often, however, the prosecutor takes a case to a grand jury to intentionally obtain a no-bill in order to publicly wash his/her hands of a controversial case while blaming it on the grand jury's learned decision not to indict.

Growing up in Chicago it was well known that a Cook County DA could indict a ham sandwich if he wished to do so.
 

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I can't find an instance online where pepper spray has been used to commit a crime, although I imagine it has.
Shoplifting crews have been using OC in central Indiana to deter overly aggressive loss prevention employees who attempt to prevent crew members from escaping once they are detected. The common practice is for one member of the gang, often a female, to loiter around the exit and remain there until the last thief has left the store. If there is an attempt to collar the thieves while they are in the store, they drop what they can not comfortably carry and race out the door. As the store employee reaches the exit behind the shoplifters, the loitering confederate (yeah, I used the word confederate) gives them a very heavy face full of chemical before evacuating the doorway themselves.

JC Penney and Walmart have been hit in this manner in a town near me. The individuals who were arrested spent a few days in county jail before bailing out. At trial they received 365 days in county jail, all suspended except for time served. The time sentenced but suspended was converted to probation. Restitution was ordered where applicable. The guilty parties were also trespassed FOR LIFE from the store they stole from. The trespass order was nationwide, meaning that if they stole from Walmart they were trespassed from all Walmart stores in America for life. Not sure if that is enforceable but it did make for good press for the local magistrate who handed down the sentences.
 
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