Defense of Another Person

Defense of Another PersonDefense Of Another

San Diego Defense Of Another Attorney

Defense Of Another is a complete defense to a crime.  Self-defense occurs when the use of force is necessary to assist another to avoid imminent danger of suffering bodily harm or unlawful touching.  The key word for Defense Of Another is “imminent.”  Belief in future harm is not sufficient no matter how great or likely that harm is believed to be.  Defendant must have believed the harm was an immediate threat.

Burden of Proof

When substantial evidence supports a theory of Defense Of Another, the burden is on the government to show beyond a reasonable doubt the act was not in Defense Of Another.  This is true whether the crime charges is homicide or a non-homicide charge.


  • Brandishing a weapon to protect a person from being mugged.
  • Pulling an assailant off another

Case Law

  • In California, there is no duty to retreat.  (People v. Hughes (1951) 107 Cal.App.2d 487, 494.)  This means the defendant can stand ground and defend the other person and, if necessary, pursue an assailant until the danger has passed.  This is true even if the danger could have been achieved by retreating.
  • The reasonable person standard for self defense does not take into account a persons mental capacity or mental illness.  (People v. Jefferson (2004) 119 Cal.App.4th 508, 519.)

Jury Considerations

A person is Not Guilty of a non-homicide crime where…

  1. He reasonably believed that another was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or unlawful touching;
  2. He reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against the danger; and
  3. He used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the danger.

When determining whether the defendant’s belief’s were reasonable, the jury must consider whether a reasonable person in a similar situation with similar knowledge would have believed the act was reasonable considering all the circumstances as they were known to defendant at the time.

Remember, even if the danger does not actually exist, so long as the defendant reasonably believed that it did, he is entitled to use force to defend another.

When determining whether defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the jury can consider…

  • Whether the victim threatened or harmed the person being defended in the past
  • Whether the victim threatened or harmed others in the past.
  • Whether a threat from someone else can be reasonably associated with the victim.

Learn More …

If you or a loved one are accused of a San Diego Criminal Offense and the Crime was committed in Defense Of Another, give our Defense Attorneys a call for a Free Analysis by calling 619-708-2073 or emailing us at

Why Our Firm?

On all criminal cases we offer a Free initial consultation. This is your chance to gain candid advice on potential outcomes and implications of your criminal charge. You will meet with our attorneys, go over the facts of your case, relevant law and San Diego procedures. You will leave with a checklist of items we feel will take your case to a successful outcome.

Scott Hullinger, Esq.

Scott Hullinger, Esq.

San Diego Criminal & Civil Attorney

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