Using force against another human being is a disturbing concept, but you may have no choice but to act if someone tries to inflict harm on you or someone in your company. If you use force in defense, you might be able to argue you are not guilty of criminal assault under South Carolina’s “castle doctrine” law.
A castle doctrine law functions like a “stand your ground” law. Section 16-11-440 of South Carolina law details how the law may protect you if you find it necessary to use force to stop an assault.
Where does this law apply?
If you are somewhere you have every right to be, like your home or your place of business, you do not have to retreat if confronted by an assailant. The law states that you have the right to stand your ground and respond to force with force if you believe you must stop bodily harm or death to yourself or another person. This law may apply even if you use deadly force.
Are there exceptions?
South Carolina’s castle doctrine law may not protect you if you are committing a crime at the time someone assaults you. The law also denies protection to persons who use deadly force against police who act in the scope of official duties and identify themselves as police officers. Law enforcement may even prosecute you for using force against a police officer whom you should have reasonably known was an officer.
It is not a given that a court will recognize this law as a valid defense against assault charges. However, other defenses like a basic argument of self-defense may be more applicable. It will depend on the circumstances of your case.