In North Carolina, self-defense only applies in certain circumstances. This defense is meant only to protect the innocent and must be proportional to the threat. This means you cannot be the aggressor nor a mutual combatant. This also means that courts will consider factors as to the degree of force that was used (large vs. small individual, multiple individuals vs. one lone defender, skilled fighter vs. unskilled).
There is a time frame in which self-defense is applicable. The threat must be imminent. In North Carolina, there is a presumption of reasonableness that may be rebutted.
In North Carolina, if there is a way to avoid a threat, it should be taken. However, you may stand your ground in an attack that is imminent and is to result in great bodily injury or death. Stand your ground means that there is no legal duty to make use of a safe avenue of escape – this is likely because if an attack is imminent or “fixin’ a” happen, there is no time to retreat so as to avoid the imminent threat. Therefore, if there is no safe avenue of escape, then stand your ground does not apply.
The Castle Doctrine applies only to the unlawful or forceful entry of another into your home, workplace, or vehicle. This doctrine does not apply to lawful residents, persons who are fleeing, or law enforcement. This means you cannot shoot a person for taking your things if they are fleeing and assert self-defense.
Before you decide to take any action, or if you find yourself needing assistance with criminal charges in North Carolina, please contact our office. The lawyers at King Law can help you get a better sense of where you stand. We invite you to come in and talk with one of our attorneys in person or over the phone during a consultation. Our number is 888-748-KING (5464).