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Minnesota Court of Appeals Clarifies When Self-Defense May Be Claimed

Self-Defense is often thought of as a way to protect yourself from harm.  If someone attacks you in some way, you may be justified in using self-defense to stop the attack, and you may not be held liable for any harm that occurs to the attacker.  “Reasonable use of force” may be authorized in these situations.  But what if there is no attack against you: can you still use self-defense?  According to a recent opinion by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the answer is “yes.”

In State v. Lampkin, the defendant was charged with domestic assault after he pushed his girlfriend to the ground.  Leading up to this, the defendant’s girlfriend physically restrained him from leaving their apartment.  The defendant grabbed his girlfriend and pulled her backwards so he could leave, causing her to fall.  The defendant claimed that his use of force was reasonable because he was trying to prevent an offense against him, namely, false imprisonment.

The Court of Appeals agreed that the defendant could claim self-defense in this situation.  The court noted that reasonable use of force is authorized “when used by any person in resisting or aiding another to resist an offense against the person.”  The term “offense” is not limited to assaults or crimes which threaten physical harm, but is broad enough to encompass any offense, including false imprisonment.

If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to hire competent criminal defense counsel.  Call 507-625-2525 to set up a free consultation with one of the criminal defense attorneys at Farrish Johnson Law Office today!