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Justification: Self-Defense

Modern Law

The leading formulation of self-defense in the United States is contained in the Model Penal Code (MPC), which has influenced the criminal codes of over thirty-five states. Section 3.04 of the MPC is, in part, as follows:

(1) the use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.

In the sections that follow the variations between the MPC and state law, as to the principal elements of self-defense, are discussed.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawJustification: Self-Defense - History, Theories, Modern Law, Reasonableness, Necessary Force, Deadly Force And The Duty To Retreat