Montclair, NJ asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for New Jersey

Q: If I am riding my motorcycle and someone tries to take my keys by force, am I allowed to use force to defend myself?

This is simply out of curiosity based on a video I saw today.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael A. Smolensky
Michael A. Smolensky
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Cinnaminson, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: New Jersey law recognizes defense of oneself as justification for conduct that would otherwise be considered criminal. One thing that many people seemingly fail to realize, however, is self-defense is not self-executing. This means that a person can be charged, for example, with assault even if he believed he acted to protect himself from harm. Evidence must be developed to support this justification for it to have merit in court. An attorney who understands criminal law will be able to assist with this.

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