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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — “NOT GUILTY” VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found “not guilty” of all charges.

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Guns and Self Defense in NJ

Guns and Self Defense in NJ

People who own a home, car or other pieces of valuable property have typically worked hard to acquire those items. They, therefore, have the right to protect their property by employing means to keep others from damaging or stealing it. People also have the right to keep themselves safe from possible harm. Everyone should feel safe walking down the street or while going shopping. For this reason, others should not be allowed to violate those rights. So what happens when those rights are violated by a person trying to commit a crime or inflict injury on another?

In New Jersey, there are laws in place that give individuals the ability to defend themselves in certain situations where they might end up a victim of harm or their property stolen or damaged. These are self-defense laws and they outline situations in which self-defense is a justifiable response.

When is Self-Defense Warranted in Atlantic City NJ?

Under New Jersey law, the use of force is appropriate when one reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting him or herself against the unlawful force of another.

In layman’s terms, this means that you are allowed to use force against another if you believe that force is necessary to protect yourself or your property from harm. When it comes to protecting something like your home, the idea is almost the same with a few limitations.

You can use force to defend your home but before that, you must ask the intruder to leave – unless it would be useless to do so. For instance, if requesting that the intruder leaves would put you and/or others in danger or would cause significant damage to the property before you can effectively make the request, then you lawfully have the right to use self-defense tactics without asking the perpetrator to leave.

It is important to note that the same ideas apply if you use a gun for your self-defense. There still needs to be enough reason to warrant your use of a gun in the particular situation. If an attacker raises his fist or slaps you and you do not try to fend them off but instead pull out a gun and shoot them, it is easy to surmise the use of the gun was an unreasonable amount of force.

This changes if the attacker is threatening your life with or brandishing a deadly weapon like a knife or gun of his or her own. If it gives you reasonable cause to fear for your life and you shoot and injure or kill your attacker, it can fall under the category of self-defense. This means you should not have to face the penalties associated with homicide or assault charges.

Experienced Atlantic City NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer Protects CLients by Making Successful Self-Defense Arguments

Other than protecting yourself or your home, New Jersey law also allows for people to protect other people if you are aware that person is in imminent danger at the hands of an attacker. But again, you must have good reasoning in order to take protective action.

Again, it is extremely important to remember that in New Jersey you have a responsibility to try and get out of a physical situation before resulting in deadly force and/or self-defense. If there are no means of escape or trying to do so would only result in more danger, resorting to self-defense is applicable and defendable in a court of law. If a gun owner, you should most certainly be up on your rights and exercise care when using as a form of self-defense.

If you or a loved one ended up in a situation that warranted self-defense with a gun but some believe your actions to be unreasonable given the situation, then you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles self-defense litigation. The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty in South Jersey have cultivated a reputation for knowledge and success when it comes to these types of cases.

Contact a Skilled Atlantic City, NJ Criminal Defense Attorney about Your Self-Defense Claim

Attorney John W. Tumelty will review the circumstances that lead to your charges, review and explain your rights and get to work on your self-defense strategy as soon as possible. All you have to do is fill out our online contact form or call 609-385-4010 to set up a free consultation today.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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South Jersey criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty is conveniently located in Atlantic City, NJ. He serves clients in Atlantic, Ocean, Gloucester and Cape May counties and the Jersey Shore, including: Absecon, Atlantic City, Avalon, Brigantine, Buena, Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Estell Manor, Folsom, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Hammonton, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica Township, Northfield, Pleasantville, Port Republic, Somers Point, Ventnor,  and Waymouth.