Self-Defense in Homicide Cases in Massachusetts

Criminal Defense Law Office of John L. Calcagni, III

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Massachusetts Self-Defense Lawyer

There are only certain circumstances where deadly force can lawfully be used in self-defense.  Deadly force is defined as force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm or use of a dangerous weapon in a manner intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm. 

For a defendant to lawfully use deadly force in self-defense, he or she must have actually believed that he or she was in immediate danger of great bodily harm or death. 

The defendant must also do everything reasonable under the circumstances to escape the situation before resorting to deadly force. The defendant must have also not instigated the situation and may not use more force in his or her defense than the attacker is using.

In addition to self-defense, a person may use deadly force when that is necessary to help another person, if it reasonably appears that the person being aided is in a situation where the law would allow him to act in self-defense.

For an act taken in the defense of another to be justified, a reasonable person in the defendant’s position must have believed deadly force was necessary to protect the third party and that a reasonable person would have believed the third party was justified in using such deadly force in his or her own self-defense. 

Essentially, the rules of self-defense apply if the defendant reasonably believed the victim was entitled to use deadly force in his or her defense.  

If you have been involved in a self-defense case and need representation, contact the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (508) 213-9113 to schedule a free consultation.