Self-Defense Issues in North Carolina

The laws regarding self-defense can be intricate, requiring careful consideration of the use of force, the amount of force, USE OF FORCE IN SELF DEFENSEand reasonableness.

A defendant determined to have been the aggressor in an affray or fight may regain the right of self-defense (right to use force, including deadly force) when placed in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death.

In that event, the legal inquiry would look into whether the aggressor had the reasonable opportunity to retreat.

The law also requires consideration of whether the initial aggressor could only protect him or herself from serious bodily harm or death by using defensive force.

Self-Defense issues in North Carolina are case-specific, thereby meriting review of what the accused believed at the time – John Fanney, Criminal Defense Lawyer Raleigh NC

The NC Supreme Court, in State v. Holloman (North Carolina v. Holloman, 369 N.C. 615 (2017) affirmed the legal precept that a jury is “able to consider” the fact pattern to determine whether the Defendant or the alleged victim is the aggressor.

Should I talk to the police? 

Does Brandishing a Weapon amount to Use of Force?

A deadly weapon or “dangerous weapons” include any instrument, article, or substance that is likely to produce great bodily harm or death.

Stand Your Ground Laws in North Carolina 

Questions of law regarding the deadly nature of a weapon, those legal issues decided by the Judge and not the jury, center on both the manner of the use of the weapon and the alleged deadly weapon itself.

If to be characterized as a deadly or dangerous weapon, the actual infliction of injury may not be required – John Fanney, Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney

 Where the deadly weapon or dangerous weapon, and the way it was used, are of “such character as to admit of but one conclusion,” the Court is charged to rule as to whether or not the weapon is “deadly” under the NC Criminal Laws.

Some weapons, like guns, are less problematic.  A baseball bat or other implement not ordinarily used as a ‘weapon’ merit analysis of the facts and circumstances of the criminal allegations – John Fanney, Criminal Lawyer

In a legal dispute where a “weapon” either may or may not cause death or result in serious injury or great bodily harm, a lot depends on the manner of its use.

Do I need a lawyer for Assault Charges?  

That issue, considering the manner of use or the portion of the body to which a blow is aimed, the alleged deadly character of the weapon, may be something determined by the Finder of Fact.

The case law in North Carolina often refers to the “jury” making Findings of Fact, deciding issues of guilt or innocence.

The Constitution of North Carolina now allows, in certain circumstances, the Defendant to Waive a Jury Trial.

If legally appropriate, the Court (the Superior Court Judge) would then serve as the Finder of Fact, making the determination of whether the Defendant is to be found Guilty or Not Guilty.

As such, in the event the accused (the Defendant facing criminal accusations) Waives Trial by Jury, the Judge would decide both matters of law and thereafter resolve factual disputes by the verdict.

Is Hearsay Evidence Admissible? 

If you have questions about your legal rights, especially those involving statutory and/or Constitutional Rights at trial, we recommend you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyers – Fanney Law Office PLLC

Self-defense cases, especially those involving the use of deadly force, tend to be high profile, “media” cases.

We strongly recommend anyone facing criminal allegations, whether a felony or misdemeanor charges, to exercise both your right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel – John Fanney, Wake County Criminal Defense

John Fanney has substantial courtroom experience helping people with serious felony charges.

We believe it prudent to carefully review the facts and circumstances of the allegations in preparing a defense.

We also firmly believe it’s best to limit communications to solely your defense lawyer and not speak with representatives of the media, friends, or even well-meaning members of your family.

Call Raleigh Lawyer John Fanney NOW:  919-617-7009

You may also reach Mr. Fanney by email at:

Consultations for criminal charges at our Raleigh Law Firm are free of charge.  They are also confidential.

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