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Former Prosecutor

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Former State Prosecutor and Criminal Trial Attorney

Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Experienced for over 35 years

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

You have a right to feel safe in your own home. Similarly, while you should be aware that not everyone is a law-abiding citizen, you have a right to be able to walk down the street or visit a shopping mall without fear of being physically attacked. And, if you do get attacked – either in your Atlantic County home, a Cape May store or anywhere else in South Jersey, you most certainly have the right to defend yourself.

That being said, if you are charged with a crime after you acted in self-defense, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will work hard to protect your rights and your freedom. NJ attorney John W. Tumelty has been fighting for the rights of clients charged with crimes in Atlantic and Cape May counties for more than over 35 years.

What is Self-Defense?

The law in New Jersey is clear: if you are put into a situation where you need to defend yourself against another person who is attempting to injure or kill you, you should not be convicted of a crime – assuming you were acting within the boundaries of New Jersey laws.

According to New Jersey Statutes 2C-3-4(a): “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.”

In other words, if someone comes at you with a gun and you believe you are in danger of being shot, you have a right to defend yourself. If your actions hurt or kill the aggressor, you shouldn’t have to face penalties associated with assault or homicide charges.

While these charges may be frightening, your best option is to speak with an attorney who understands the way prosecutors think and react to cases like yours. John Tumelty is a criminal defense lawyer now, but he is a former district attorney and prosecutor in Atlantic County. When it comes to self-defense, Mr. Tumelty is the lawyer you want on your side.

When is Self-Defense Warranted in Atlantic City NJ?

Self-defense laws in New Jersey are complex and can be confusing. That’s why it’s important you speak with Mr. Tumelty. He can explain the self-defense laws as they pertain to your situation.

Protecting Your Own Body: If you feel someone is about to inflict serious bodily injury or upon you, you have the right to protect yourself using force.

Home Protection: NJSA §2C:3-6, has more than 12 parts that define how force may be used in defense of your own premises or personal property. In general, you have a right to use force to defend your property and belongings. However, the law requires you to ask the person to leave the premises before taking defensive action. If that request would put you or others in danger, you don’t have to make the request.

Protection of Other People: If you are aware that someone else is in imminent danger due to an attacker, New Jersey law says using force to defend someone else is justified. However, you need to have a good reason for taking protective action. Further, you and your lawyer will have to prove that the actions taken were actually “defensive” and not “offensive” in nature.

When is Self-Defense Not Justified in New Jersey?

There is a legal term, “duty to retreat,” that covers the main reasons why using deadly force in self-defense may not be justified. If you feel you are in harm’s way due to an attacker, you have a responsibility to try to get out of the physical situation. Run! Escape before you are allowed to use deadly force! In fact, NJ law dictates that you must try to get away before opting to defend yourself with deadly force.

However, if there is no means of escape, or if trying to escape would put you in even more danger, Mr. Tumelty will explain that to a court.

Additionally, the amount of force you use to defend yourself must be warranted based on the action taken against you (or that you fear could be taken against you.) For example, if someone punches you in the gut, it’s not justifiable self-defense to shoot them with a gun.

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

Mr. Tumelty offers free phone and in-person consultations. He will discuss the circumstances that led to your charges, explain your rights and get started immediately on your self-defense strategy. He has conveniently located offices in Somers Point, Atlantic City and Marmora and he welcomes clients from throughout Atlantic and Cape May counties and throughout NJ.

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