Should my daughter be charged with a felony for trying to defend her friend? 56 Answers as of June 09, 2013

My daughter's neighbor pushed his way into her apartment pulled her friend outside and was beating him up. She grabs a club and beats this guy off, now shes being charged with a felony, this guy is an ex police officer involved in politics.

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Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
What an awful situation for your daughter. She should speak to a lawyer about a "defense of others". It's like self-defense but for situations like this where the target of the first attack is not the person who ends up charged with a crime.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/12/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
It is a defense to assault that you were defending another person, but whether you can use a weapon or deadly force depends on the circumstances. You should retain a good criminal attorney to investigate the matter, talk to the witnesses, look for video, and advise on how to proceed.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/2/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
What you described is assault (two assaults in fact, one is the guy who grabbed the friend and drug him out, the second was your daughter grabbing a club and defending the first guy). So, this is a chargeable offense, though I would think the local authorities would not prosecute under the circumstances you have described. There are several affirmative defenses available: Self-Defense and in Defense of others both come to mind.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/30/2011
Law Office of Ernest T. Biando, LLC | Ernest Biando
Sounds like self defense or defense of another-she should not be charged but I dont know the facts so she may be-retain an attorney to advise her.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/30/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Retain a good attorney. I expect your daughters friend will support her side of it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/30/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Charges are based on probable cause for the offense. Where witnesses have different stories, often it becomes a matter for a jury to sort out. Often, the best defense is a good offense. In most instances, an argument for self defense or defense of others may be made and Motions should be served to acquire all statements and medical records from the prosecution. In a mater where there is use of dangerous weapon alleged, it must be shown that the person charged used commensurate force to whatever threat was presented and, in may instances, there is also a duty to retreat before responding with force. Often, with skilled legal representation jail time and convictions can be avoided.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The prosecutor usually charges a case depending upon the strength of the evidence. If your daughter is charged, she should consult with an experienced attorney who may be able to convince the prosecutor to modify the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Whether she should have been charged, or whether she was justified would be a question for either the Court or a jury. I would assume that the ex-police officer was about to inflict substnatial harm to the person he was beating. If so, sounds to me that she had justification and she should be cleared.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    Your daughter is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor needs to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your daughter has a right to council. If she cannot afford to retain a lawyer, the court may appoint her one at the public's expense. Speaking generally, self-defense and defense of others may be an affirmative defense, in certain situations, to a pending criminal charge. Self-defense can be, potentially, a risky trial trial strategy and depends on the particular circumstances. However, ultimately, factual questions, i.e., guilt or innocence, and whether the use of this defense was justified, are a matter determined by a judge or jury in a trial setting. I'd recommend that your daughter obtain an attorney to assist her further with this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Your case is very fact specific and will turn on a number of things. You should consider hiring an attorney who can analyze all of these facts and determine what the best course of action may be. This may include hiring an investigator, background checks, and a review of the incident report and statements. Without some assistance, you may feel and actually be bullied or railroaded into a plea or trial. Without representation, there may be no way to stop the stacked deck in this situation. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Self defense includes defense of others. Anybody can be charged with a crime but it sounds like she has a valid defense.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You have not included all the facts needed to answer your question completely. First your daughter is charged with a felony. Now what needs to be done is getting her out of this problem with the least damage to her. Based on the facts that you stated your daughter has a good defense. She could be not guilty under the defense of others. Whether this is true will depend on the facts of what happened and in what order. Also remember it is not what you know but what you can prove. This goes for both the defendant and the prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    This is classic defense of others (similar to self defense). The DA can charge her, but a good defense attorney should win her case the intruder can be charged with felony 1st degree burglary with a 10 year minimum mandatory sentence to prison.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    It sounds like self-defense which is a defense to any charge. Also, I don't think it's a felony.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Based upon the facts you assert your daughter should not be charged, but now that she is she needs to hire an experienced Criminal Defense attorney to fight the case for her.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Sounds like a very fact specific situation. Self defense of others is a defense but it has limits. She needs a good certified criminal law specialist to represent her if it can be afforded.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    She needs an attorney who will file a Notice of a Defense which would be the defense of others.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The issue is can you come to the defense of another? The answer is generally yes, but the amount of force used here may be an issue. She should retain a competent defense attorney to review and defend her in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Should she be charged? This is up to the State Attorney. Should she be convicted, that will be up to a jury. It sounds like your daughter may have a valid claim of defense of others. This will depend on a number of circumstances that you have not provided. I suggest you consult an experienced Criminal Defense attorney to discuss your daughter's case in greater detail and learn all of her rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    One can defend oneself and others from attack. It is a question for a jury but based on what I am getting you daughter could use these facts to at least mitigate the case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    She shouldn't, but she is, so you've got to deal with it. Once charges are filed, a long process has begun. Time to get an attorney for her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    She needs to get a lawyer to help her fight these charges. Just like self defense, defense of others is a defense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    There is a legal defense of defense of others, which is strengthened by the fact that the incident occurred in her apartment.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Your daughter needs to hire the very best criminal defese attorney she can afford. She may have a viable "defense of others" defense.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    She can certainly be charge. She did commit an assault with a deadly weapon. However, there may be a defense to the charge referred to as "defense of others" which is similar to a self-defense argument. She will want to speak to an experienced attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    It should be obvious by now based upon what you said that you need a highly experienced criminal defense law firm to help your daughter. This is extremely serious and if this is a felony she is facing the possibility of going to state prison.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    As long as the force was reasonable, defense of others is a recognized legal defense.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    She'll have to defend herself. Whether or not you or I may think it unfair to charge her doesn't change the fact that she is charged.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Mark C. Cogan Law Offices | Mark Cogan
    Your daughter needs a good criminal defense lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Obviously she is charged with the felony, so the answer is yes. Can she defend against it? Of course. She needs a skilled, local counsel to defend her.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Well, it sounds like his position may make it an uphill climb, but "Defense of Another" is a valid defense to Assault & Battery, which is probably what your daughter is charged with. It is actually probably A&B with a dangerous weapon. Hire an attorney. Online help is ok for general thoughts and ideas but if you have been charged with a crime you should be speaking with your own attorney who works for you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber | Marshall Tauber
    Defense of another is a legitimate defense to assert at trial but that never stops anyone from being charged. Your daughter needs a first rate experienced criminal defense lawyer. Visit my website MTauber.com I can help.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Jon M. Carter, Attorney at Law | Jon M. Carter
    Yes she can be charged with a felony, although misdemeanor assault sounds more appropriate here. She Needs a lawyer for this serious a situation. She may have a valid defense under Oklahoma Statutes But "the club" concerns me:
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    There may be a defense of 'defense of others'. Hire the best lawyer you can for her.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    Your daughter has an affirmative defense to the (what I am assuming from your question) is an aggravated battery charge. She will likely end up asserting defense of others at trial or entering some sort of plea bargain. You ask should your daughter be charged, and from what you describe the answer is no. However, the more relevant question is can she be charged, and, unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes. Make sure she has a good criminal defense lawyer to look out for her best interests as the politics involved in any case can make negotiations and trial all the more difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    She should get a good defense attorney right away! A felony is a very serious charge and she may be facing jail time.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC | Robert Keates
    "Should" and "can" are two different things. It sounds like a self-defense/defense of another issue, which will need to be taken up in court.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Not enough facts to effectively answer. If your daughter became the aggressor and used more force than was necessary to protect her friend then "yes" she could be charged. The fact that she is charged with a felony indicates that she used excessive force and, I assume, broke a bone when she hit the person with the club. The other issue is why your friend was "dragged" from the apartment. Was the friend running from the commission of a crime? Don't know. There are just too many questions that I need answered. You need to consult with an attorney. A felony is a very serious charge and a conviction carries with it substantial penalties , including jail. Do not take this lightly.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You're asking the wrong question. Anyone can be charged with anything if the prosecutor has probable cause. The question is can she be convicted. If the friend was in your daughter's home and the neighbor entered the home without consent and grabbed the friend and pulled him outside, the neighbor was committing the crime of residential burglary. Your daughter would have been privileged in using reasonable force at the time of the burglary and kidnapping. However once the crime was completed, it turned into a misdemeanor assault. At that point, deadly force may have been inappropriate. The right of self-defense and right to defend on others depends on the circumstances at the time of using deadly force and the reasonableness of doing so. The force used must also be proportionate to the amount of force being used by the assailant. Use of a club is per se deadly force so the question will be was that force excessive. To be any more specific, I would need to speak to your daughter and the other witnesses or review the police report.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Should she be charged? They have, so that question is already answered by the DA. The big question now is "Will she be convicted?". A person has an absolute right of self defense and there is also the theory of defense of others. A person can use reasonable force (to the same level the person being attacked could use) to defend another person. We have a very limited amount of information to work with, but it sounds as though your daughter has a very viable defense. The entire case, including all witness statements, physical evidence and reports will have to be analyzed by her attorney for a definitive answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    She should get a good attorney and fight the case. Defense of others is a valid defense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    The way you relayed the facts, it sounds like she could mount a good defense of other defense to the charge. This is a felony and has serious consequences including possible prison time. She needs to have an experienced criminal lawyer on her side. If she does not have one appointed to her, she needs to retain one. Felony cases are much too complex and the stakes are too high to go at it alone.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Colorado has a strong self defense or defense of others statute, which some call the "make-my-day" law. It does not always prevent a prosecutor from filing a case, but could be a complete defense at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Your daughter could be charged but that does not mean that she should be convicted. Hire her a good attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    It doesn't matter whether you or I think she shouldn't be charged. She is. She now has to defend against the charges. With an ex-cop pressing charges, she needs to take this seriously. My statement of advice to her: Of course you can fight the charges. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence, facts and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. If you don't know how to do these things effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    People can use force to protect themselves from assault or injury. However, the force must be no more than is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. Whether or not using a club is reasonable force, which could be considered a deadly weapon, to break up a fist fight is fact dependent on the circumstances. If one exceeds the justifiable bounds of self defense or defense of others, they can be charged with assault themselves. If the neighbor broke into the apartment and assaulted an occupant, that is a felony and the neighbor should be prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    On the surface, it does not sound fair that your daughter is charged with a felony for coming to the defense of her friend, however, you are presenting one side of the story, and I am not aware of the other side of the story, from the victim's point of view. If your daughter inflicted serious bodily harm to the victim, then perhaps she overstepped the amount of force necessary to defend her friend. Of course, if the victim is a cop and politically connected, this might have played a role in the charges being lodged as felonies as opposed to misdemeanors. The best advice I can give you is hire a good defense attorney to defend your daughter, she will need it. Also, her friend, if beaten by the victim, should be photographed and seen by a doctor to confirm his injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    This is one for the jury. Your daughter has a right to use reasonable force to defend another person. The general rule is that a person cannot use a weapon if the other guy is unarmed. There are exceptions, too many to mention. If it looked like your daughter's friend was in a life-threatening situation (being strangled) the jury may rule that the use of a club was reasonable. I recently won a case in which my client used a tire iron against an unarmed man who was trying to strangle him. It is all about what is reasonable under the circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Based on the facts you've laid out here, your daughter sounds completely justified and innocent. If she has been charged, however, my guess is that the police report reads very differently. If so, her only option is to fight the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm | Grant Van Der Jagt
    Yes, she should be charged, however she has a great defense. If she is able to substantiate her defense, she should be acquitted.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    The decision to charge or not charge a crime rests with the local county attorney. If the county attorney has chosen to file charges, then your daughter will have to answer them. The mere fact that she was charged does not mean that she will be convicted of this crime. Your daughter may have a valid authorized use of force claim. Your daughter should speak with an attorney to evaluate the merits of such a defense in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    The biggest problem is that she should have called the police. However, there is a "defense of others" defense she may be able to use. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to explore her options.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    She needs criminal defense counsel to assert the affirmative defense of defense of self or 3rd persons.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/25/2011
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