Self-defense Laws During a Burglary in New Jersey

Your safety and the safety of your family are of your utmost concern. A close second to that may be the need to protect your belongings and the home you have worked so hard to put together. If criminals threaten to interrupt that safety it can be a confusing time. Know what your rights and the New Jersey state laws say about protecting yourself in those situations. The instinct to protect will likely kick in. But understand in that situation there are some issues to consider and sides to weigh. If you are ever forced to commit a crime in order to protect yourself, your family, or your belongings, you become the defendant in a crime. The law is not always on your side.  You can use self-defense if the situation meets three criteria.

Immediate Danger

First and foremost, you must feel as if you or your family member or your belongings are in immediate danger. When you ask the person to leave, and they refuse, you are now in immediate danger. You have given the assailant fair warning that they need to leave and they are not welcome there. Their choice to stay and not do as you have asked puts a check mark in one box of self-defense.


What the assailant is doing or attempting to do must be unlawful. For example, they have to be trespassing on your private property. They can’t be in a public location. There must be someone attempting to or actually committing arson, burglary or property destruction. The action of the assailant has to be something that involves breaking the law in order for self-defense to be warranted.


Finally, you must believe that the force you choose to use is the only necessary option to help the situation. In other words, you must be sure that there is not some other way to prevent the criminal activity of the assailant. If you choose to use deadly force, but the option to use some other preventative measure is present, there could be a problem with your defense. There is never a necessity to using deadly force to protect property. It is only even a dependable option if someone else’s life is believed to be in imminent danger.


The biggest thing to remember is that you really should make all attempts to use something other than deadly force first. Proving that you had no other option can be difficult in some cases. Protecting yourself and those around you is important in the state of New Jersey. Some circumstances allow you to claim self-defense. But it could be a tricky, long road to making that claim in a court of law, if necessary. Though it is tough to think and not just act in threatening situations, you have to consider what the wisest course of action is.

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