Self-Defense: When Deadly Force may be Allowed

One aspect of criminal law that is often overlooked is the concept of self-defense. In the state of Michigan, an individual can use deadly force without having an obligation to retreat if they have an honest and reasonable belief that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault to yourself or to another individual. The defendant must make an affirmative defense to prove the following elements:

A. The defendant was not engaged in a crime of the time deadly force was used.
B. That you are somewhere you’re legally allowed to be and
C. That you feel deadly force is the only way to defense yourself or another person.

To learn more about self-defense in the state of Michigan, we asked some of the top criminal lawyers in the state to provide insight into the topic.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and his firm is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked for commentary, Grabel stated, “Using this defense is a difficult hurdle. The defense lawyer needs to understand the importance in the credibility of their client. While our firm has been successful in using self-defense, it is crucial to investigate all aspects of your client personal history before engaging this argument. Many lawyers use the defense without proper investigation and the client pays the price.”

William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates and has quickly developed a reputation as one of the top defense lawyers in the state of Michigan. When asked about self-defense, Amadeo stated, “You have to put the defendant on the stand if you are going to use this defense. That is trial strategy. The defense attorney is now playing offense and how this defense is viewed in Wayne County is very different than how it may be viewed in Jackson or Washtenaw County. You need to understand the geography of the case before using self-defense. If you are knowledgeable in the defense, it certainly has the opportunity to protect the constitutional rights of your client.

Ravi Gurumurthy is an Associate at Grabel and Associates and runs his own firm in the northern part of our state. Gurumurthy explained, “The attorney needs to understand the facts presented and this requires reviewing the discovery multiple times. When the lawyer just shows up to court with a vanilla motion, they can easily lose the effectiveness of the defense. The availability of self-defense is an amazing mechanism to protect your client when properly applied.”

To learn more about this aspect of law, turn to Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 780.972. This statute does present the criteria required for their defendant and when used properly, the law presents the difference between freedom and incarceration.

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