Maryland self defense laws provide guidance about the situations in which a person who has been attacked can defend themselves. In some cases, a person can even kill someone else in self-defense. However, these rules can be complicated and there are many situations in which someone commits a crime despite having acted to defend themselves.
This is further complicated by the fact that many of the rules relating to self defense are part of the common law, law developed over the course of time from the rulings of judges, as opposed to law embodied in statutes, and don't appear in Maryland law books. As such, self defense claims can be difficult to litigate.
Overview of Maryland Self Defense Laws
The following chart provides some basic information relating to issues involved in Maryland self defense laws:
N/A, Common Law
|State v. Faulkner Principles||
Maryland's landmark case on self defense, State v. Faulkner, cited in Roach v. State, provides the requirements for a justifiable self-defense resulting in a homicide (other than felony murder.) Those wishing to make the claim must establish their:
|Common Law Principals||
Maryland follows several common law principles relating to self defense, which include:
|Burden of Proof||
When a defendant claims that they acted in self-defense by producing evidence to this effect the prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant did not act in self-defense. The defendant has the burden of production, meaning that they must produce evidence to support the defense, while the prosecution has the burden of persuasion, and must convince the jury that their version of events is the correct one.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
If you would like to learn more about Maryland self defense laws the following links provide additional information:
Get a Free Case Review
Although you may have a solid defense under Maryland's self defense laws, the serious nature of the potential charges means professional assistance is highly recommended. A competent attorney can help develop your defense and identify any other potential defenses in your case. Contact a local attorney for a free case review to discuss the details of your situation.
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