If attacked in my yard by a person, am I allowed to defend myself within reason?

I was attacked by my wifes sister in my yard for telling wifes sister to calm down and go home as she was drunk and cussing my wife. I stepped between wife & her sister then grabbed me by the neck which was when I hit her defending myself. She then went home after cussing me. I called the sherriff office to try to make sure the sister and her husband didn’t come back to our home to start further trouble as they hunt and have numerous weapons in their home. The sherriff deputy told me I could be put in jail-is this correct? I thought it was self-defense on my part.

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Criminal Law, Arkansas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country one has the right to use reasonable force depending upon the circumstances to defend himself or a third party form the hostile and aggressive acts of another.

The issue is what is the amount of reasonable force allowable? For example, if someone slapped your wife and was attacking her, you would be allowed to push off the other person. However, under the same circumstances shooting the person who slapped your wife may not be justifiable self defense or the defense of a third party under the law.


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