going on the offensive

Posted by: c_maj7th

going on the offensive - 10/13/03 02:09 PM

I'm new to this site so I'm sure this question has been asked before.Please excuse the redundancy.From a legal standpoint when can I throw the first strike and be legally safe?Thanks for any insight.
Posted by: Shadowfax

Re: going on the offensive - 10/13/03 04:47 PM

Assuming you're posting from the United States. . .

Let's be realistic here. Even if you don't respond until 20 punches have been thrown you may well get in legal trouble. There are tons of cases in the records which reflect our criminal-favoring legal system. One example was a taxi driver that lost his shirt in a lawsuit. Seems he was sued by the jewel thief who had just robbed a jewelry store. The cabbie pinned the fleeing thief against the wall with his car to keep him from escaping. Another case involved a burglar who fell through a skylight while trying to break into someone's house. He sued because the skylight was inherently unsafe and injured him. He won. Yet another case had a burglar who got himself locked in the store he was trying to rob overnight. He sued because he couldn't get out. He won.

These cases (and there are jillions more) highlight the fact that criminals can file idiotic lawsuits against their victims and win. So if you get attacked, you may well be sued.

That being said, would you rather fight a lawsuit, or be dead? I personally will fight the lawsuit (and the attacker

As to when I will throw the first punch, if it's obvious he's gonna attack me, and there's nothing I can do, I'll probably try to drop him before he gets the opportunity to try to drop me.
Posted by: c_maj7th

Re: going on the offensive - 10/13/03 06:17 PM

Thanks Shadow,
When you look at it like that it makes me think of an old saying,"It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6".Thanks for the response.
Posted by: kman

Re: going on the offensive - 10/13/03 09:06 PM

C- 2 relevant points to the legal use of force. It has to be Both timely and proportional. The timeliness factor is usually obvious. No preemptive strikes prior to the actual threat. No retaliation after the imediate threat is past. Achieving proportionality can be a little tricky in the heat of battle. Break a bone in response to a slap in the face and you've become the agressor. Keep hitting after he's made it clear he wants to quit or is no longer assaulting you and it's the same story. If the police get there in the middle of the action they'll likley cuff and stuff the both of you. If they arrive late they have a tendancy to see who looks worse off,then throw the other guy in the pokey. The doctrine we teach is to be able to "articulate the threat" IE if you described it to a neutral 3rd party would they percive a threat there? Body languange,voice tone tend not to count for much in the aftermath even though we all know they mean a great deal. The courts in the U.S. use whats known as the "reasonable man doctrine" what would a mythical reasonable man have done(or percieved) if her were in your circumstances? I recently pepper sprayed a guy who was coming at me with his fists raised "as if to strike". He got tagged for 5th degree assault with out ever having touched me. Shadow brings up a good point about the ridiculous lawsuits. But you nailed it with the "better to be judged by 6 " comment. My old pistol intructor used to say that if the other guy dies, " there will only be one liar on the witness stand". Creative writing rules!
Posted by: TruthHurts

Re: going on the offensive - 10/13/03 10:21 PM

Nicely stated. Timely, proportional and reasonable considering the totality of the circumstance.

A good selling point for training that addresses the mind (do you know what to do and how to do it?), body (can you physically do it?) spirit (can you motivate your self to act, justify and explain your actions and deal with the consequences?) issue.
Posted by: Doughnut

Re: going on the offensive - 10/14/03 04:48 AM

k-man very well put.

One of the things to keep in mind is if "I (you) was in fear for my life." this tends to hold alot of weight with the "reasonable man" at least in criminal matters, Civily is another ball of wax. Of course real fear for life and limb probably does not occur as often as leagal savey persons claim it.
Posted by: John Sharpe

Re: going on the offensive - 12/31/03 04:44 PM

Posted by: 3SIXO

Re: going on the offensive - 01/03/04 02:40 PM

When I respond to dispute or assault and both complainants are stating the other person intiated the fight and both are injured I must arrest both because there is no way of telling it is up to the DA to determine and the courts
Posted by: kman

Re: going on the offensive - 01/03/04 06:34 PM

3sixo,,I'm guessing that you're a peace officer? If so then you've proven one of my earlier positions,,both get thrown in jail (or the one who looks worse off). Sharpe,,Ive gotten away with striking the first blow,,)ie my recent pepper spray incident) but like I said you have to be able to "articulate the threat". NEVER mess with some one who buys ink in 55 gal drums! K-
Posted by: Doughnut

Re: going on the offensive - 01/07/04 08:22 PM

Offense is sometimes appropriate when things are about to go seriously south. Sometimes when you make the decision to act offensivly you must be prepaired to face the music. If one is not ready for either of these possibilities then LE or even security work may not be the way to go.
Posted by: CanuckMA

Re: going on the offensive - 01/07/04 10:47 PM

Only if you can make a case that the preempt strike was the only solution.

It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in general you can use only as much force necessary to allow you to disengage safely.