You certainly hope to never become involved in an altercation with another person in Monck’s Corner. That said, there are scenarios where the circumstances of the moment may require you to act forcefully to defend yourself and others.
The question then becomes when is it lawful to do so. Those who have come to see members of our team here at George B. Bishop, Jr. P.A. after having needed to use force to defend themselves worry that defining dangerous situations is subjective. If you share the same concern, it will likely please you to know that the law clearly defines when the use of force is acceptable.
Using force against another
Section 16-11-440 of South Carolina’s Code of Laws states that you can use force (even deadly force) when you reasonably fear that death or serious bodily injury to yourself or others is possible at the hands of another. Authorities presume that fear exists when one unlawfully or forcefully attempts to enter into any of the following locations:
- Your residence
- Your vehicle
- Any dwelling in which you stay (“dwelling” in this context means any place designed to shelter people overnight, such as a hotel)
Reasonable fear is also presumed if one tries to forcefully remove you or another from any of the aforementioned locations
“Stand Your Ground” vs. “the Castle Doctrine”
Per the above statute, South Carolina’s self-defense laws come closer to matching “the Castle Doctrine,” which follows the assumption that your home is your castle (and thus you can defend it). They stop short of meeting the standard of “Stand Your Ground” laws, which basically say you have no duty to retreat from any situation in which you feel threatened.
You can find more information in defending yourself from accusations of violence throughout our site.