What are the self-defense laws in New Jersey?


If you are faced with a physical threat, you may wonder if it is illegal to use force or violence to defend yourself. Understanding self-defense laws can be challenging, as force is only justified under certain circumstances. It is possible that defending yourself with force could result in criminal charges as some requirements must be met for the use of force to be justified as self-defense. Keep reading to learn about New Jersey’s self-defense laws and discover how a qualified Camden County Criminal Defense Attorney can protect your rights. 

What is self-defense?

Self-defense is defined as an individual protecting themselves by using force or violence in response to an imminent threat of physical harm. Self-defense only justifies force when an individual defends themselves against an imminent threat. The court often struggles to determine what amount of force is appropriate when an individual is in immediate danger of physical harm.

In New Jersey, under the law, individuals must retreat when they are imminently threatened with personal harm. Essentially, this means they must take reasonable steps to avoid confrontation by either de-escalating the situation or leaving the location at which the threat is occurring. If this is not possible, the individual must have a reasonable belief that the use of force must be immediately necessary, they are in imminent danger of physical harm, and the amount of force used must be necessary. If threatened with unlawful action, the amount of force used must be appropriate as the use of deadly force should be the last resort when defending oneself. It is critical to note that these conditions can also be applied for the protection of a third party. If a third party is in imminent danger of physical harm, they can use force to protect the other party.

Do I have the right to use force to protect my home in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, if an individual believes that force is necessary to prevent a crime on their property, they are within their rights to use force to defend their home against aggressors. An individual must retreat before resorting to force to avoid violence. If this is not possible, after retreating they are within their rights to use force to defend their property. Therefore, deadly force is justifiable to protect oneself against an aggressor committing any crime involving theft or destruction of property. It is critical to note that deadly force is never justifiable when an individual employs force for self-defense purposes to protect their personal property such as a car.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense for using force for self-defense purposes, you need an experienced Camden County criminal defense attorney on your side. Our firm is prepared to aggressively defend you and advocate on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.

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