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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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Is Self-Defense a Justifiable Response to Criminal Charges in New Jersey?

If you are the victim of an assault or any other violent crime, it stands to reason that you would have a right to defend yourself. When fending off an attacker, if you harm or kill them in the act of defending yourself, you may very well find yourself facing criminal charges.

However, self-defense is a recognized justifiable defense in New Jersey courts, in some – but not all – circumstances. Self-defense provides you with the right to protect yourself against someone who is trying to hurt you. In fact, the NJ law (2C-3-4(a)) states:

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

Therefore, if you feel someone is using force to seriously harm you – perhaps they entered your home wielding a weapon or they accost you on a street – you have a right to do what you feel is necessary to protect yourself.

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges stemming from an attack where you believe self-defense was justifiable, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. John W. Tumelty has been representing clients charged with many crimes in Atlantic City and throughout Atlantic and Cape May counties. Talk to him about your charges today.

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