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What are some limits to Montana’s self-defense laws?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Montana has different self-defense laws in place, including a “stand your ground” law to protect people who might otherwise face murder charges for exercising deadly force in a confrontation. However, self-defense laws do not apply to all violent encounters.

State law explains a few limitations that do not make it justifiable to use deadly force during a confrontation.

Commission of a forcible felony

Self-defense laws may not apply if a person kills an assailant while doing something unlawful. State law explicitly omits justification of self-defense if someone engages in a forcible felony. A person could even face violent crime charges while attempting a forcible felony or fleeing from the scene of the crime.

Willfully provoking another person

Sometimes people get in fights without intending to provoke one. In such cases, self-defense can be a strong argument. Conversely, state law does not consider self-defense to apply to a situation if a person provokes someone else to violence on purpose.

However, sometimes the law allows for exceptions. For instance, you might attempt to end a confrontation but the other person continues to endanger your life. State law may also apply self-defense protections if you believe that death or serious harm to your person is imminent unless you use deadly force and there is no way of escape available to you.

Self-defense cases can vary

In general, the use of force that kills another person must come from a reasonable belief that death or serious harm could happen to you. Given that violent confrontations can happen in different ways, the question of reasonable belief will depend on your specific circumstances.

Knowing the restrictions on self-defense law may help you deal with a present case or in a later situation if you must protect yourself.