If you or someone else is in immediate danger, you have the right to act in self-defense under California law. In other words, you can take the essential precautions to ensure your safety. For example: if someone enters your home without permission and begins attacking you, you have the right to defend yourself.
However, if you go beyond what is necessary to protect yourself and instead severely injure or kill the attacker, you have committed murder. The key here is "immediate danger". If you do not immediately perceive that you are in danger, then you cannot claim self-defense.
In addition to being aware of whether or not you are in danger, it is important to understand exactly how much force is allowed in order to defend yourself. All states allow some form of self-defense, even if their laws on specific techniques differ. For example, some states permit only a certain type of defense (e.g., hand to hand combat), while others allow any method of self-protection as long as it is not done in an excessive manner.
The amount of force that you can use in self-defense depends on several factors. Including but not limited to your weight, size, and strength compared to the attacker(s).
When you have a reasonable sense that you are in danger, you have the right to act in self-defense in California. When you have a reasonable belief that you are about to be physically hurt in some way, the use of force may be acceptable. For example, if someone is trying to break into your home and you know that you can stop them by shooting at them, then you have the right to use deadly force.
The force you use must be "reasonable" in relation to the situation you face. What this means is that you cannot use more force than is necessary to stop the threat, but you also cannot use just enough force to win an argument or settle a score. Using too much force could result in becoming liable for any resulting injuries. Using not enough force could put you in danger of being harmed even worse than what first prompted you to act in the first place.
There are several situations in which it might not be clear whether something is a legal threat or not. For example, if someone breaks into your home and you catch them in the act, it is possible that you could use deadly force without putting yourself at risk of being charged with a crime. However, if they had not yet entered your home when you shot them, this might not be true. In this case, it would be best to call the police and let them deal with the situation before acting again.
In California, you have the legal right to defend oneself without withdrawing. In truth, you have the legal right to follow your assailant until the immediate threat to you (or someone else) has passed. To put it another way, you do not have to strive to avoid injury by fleeing. If an attack on you appears imminent, you are entitled to use force against your assailant in order to protect yourself.
The law recognizes four categories of force: physical, verbal, emotional, and economic. It is illegal to use even one type of force against another person. For example, it is illegal to threaten someone with violence to get them to do something - even if you do plan to use physical force to carry out the threat.
It is also illegal to use force against an innocent person. If, for example, a friend tries to stop you from hitting an innocent person, then you must not hit the innocent person even if he or she was attacking my friend first. Use only legitimate forms of force under these circumstances.
Finally, force can be used in self-defense if the person who is using it believes that they are in danger of death or great bodily injury. Even if this belief is mistaken, force can be used if necessary to protect oneself from this perceived danger. For example, if someone grabs you from behind and tries to choke you, you have the right to break free and fight back.