Thursday, 9 December 2010

¿Qué la ley que decir acerca del uso de fuerza letal en una situación de autodefensa

This article addresses the issue of using lethal force in a self-defense situation. The following are laws pertaining to the State of Nevada that I have taken directly from their official web site at: To find your own state's web site, merely type in the following address ( into your web browser with the two letter abbreviation for your state between the www. and .gov.

Now I am not an attorney, so please DO NOT consider this to be legal advice what-so-ever. That can only come from a competent and professionally licensed attorney in the state in which you reside concerning that particular state's laws governing the act of using lethal force in a self-defense situation.

For example, let's say you are faced with the following situation. You are walking to your car after a hard day at work when all of a sudden you see a man approaching you. He walks up to you and here is a transcript of what happens:

NOTE: The capital "A" stands for attacker and the capital "Y" stands for you.

A. Hey man, got any cash you can spare?

Y. Sorry, I just got off of work and I don't get paid till Friday.

A. (Pulls out a knife) Give me your wallet man, or I'll kill you.

Y. BAM! BAM! (Insert your favorite techniques or techniques here.) Your attacker is
now lying on the ground dead while you get in your car and call the police.

Here are the laws concerning this particular situation as defined by Nevada State Law.

NRS 200.120 "Justifiable homicide" defined. Justifiable homicide is the killing of a human being in necessary self-defense, or in defense of habitation, property or person, against one who manifestly intends, or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against any person or persons who manifestly intend and endeavor, in a violent, riotous, tumultuous or surreptitious manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein.


Since your attacker not only threatened you with a deadly weapon (knife), he also verbalized his intent to kill you if you didn't do what he wanted, which was to give him your wallet. This would clearly put a reasonable person in fear for their life, which would in turn justify the use of lethal force.

NRS 200.130 Bare fear insufficient to justify killing; reasonable fear required. A bare fear of any of the offenses mentioned in NRS 200.120, to prevent which the homicide is alleged to have been committed, shall not be sufficient to justify the killing. It must appear that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person, and that the party killing really acted under the influence of those fears and not in a spirit of revenge.


Merely being afraid that someone might do something does not justify the use of lethal force. For example; if the guy merely was walking towards you carrying a knife and looked mean wouldn't necessarily give you the right to use lethal force against him. For all you know he might be a sushi chef who just got off work and was tired and wanting to go home. There must be present certain criteria that would make a reasonable person believe that their life was in danger.

NRS 200.160 Additional cases of justifiable homicide. Homicide is also justifiable when committed:

1. In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother or sister, or of any other person in his presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

2. In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode in which he is.


You are lawfully justified in using lethal force to prevent, what a reasonable person would believe to be, a great personal injury to yourself and/or to prevent a felony being committed upon yourself or another person.

In this case you are defending your life and your lawful property (your wallet and its contents) from an attacker committing a felony armed assault who also verbalized his intent to kill you if you didn't comply with his requests.

NRS 200.200 Killing in self-defense. If a person kills another in self-defense, it must appear that:

1. The danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save his own life, or to prevent his receiving great bodily harm, the killing of the other was absolutely necessary; and 2. The person killed was the assailant, or that the slayer had really, and in good faith, endeavored to decline any further struggle before the mortal blow was given.


Was the danger in this example urgent? Well you had been confronted with an armed assault and threatened with being killed if you didn't hand over your wallet. So one could make the argument that yes, you were in a very dangerous and urgent situation.

Could you have disarmed the attacker without using lethal force? Once again, this may be a possibility depending upon many variables including your own abilities.

NRS 200.275 Justifiable infliction or threat of bodily injury not punishable. In addition to any other circumstances recognized as justification at common law, the infliction or threat of bodily injury is justifiable, and does not constitute mayhem, battery or assault, if done under circumstances which would justify homicide.


Say for example that you didn't kill your attacker, but merely say broke his spine and paralyzed him for life from the waist down. According to the law, if you are justified in killing your attacker but don't, then all force reasonably used against him is justified.

However, once your attacker is no longer a threat. You are legally obligated to stop your attack. For example; once you have broken your attacker's arm and he is no longer able to, or willing to hold the knife, you are not justified in breaking his other arm and both legs.

NRS 193.165 Additional penalty: Use of deadly weapon or tear gas in commission of a crime.

5. As used in this section, "deadly weapon" means:

(a) Any instrument which, if used in the ordinary manner contemplated by its
design and construction, will or is likely to cause substantial bodily harm or

(b) Any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which, under the
circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be
used, is readily capable of causing substantial bodily harm or death; or

(c) A dangerous or deadly weapon specifically described in NRS 202.255, 202.265, 202.290, 202.320 or 202.350.


A knife is considered to be a deadly weapon and when used in the example given, adds legitimacy to the use of lethal force by the victim. If the same situation was carried out and the attacker had no weapon, it would be a lot harder to justify the use of lethal force. Even with the attacker verbalizing that he was going to kill you. Of course, each situation is uniquely different and what would be justified in one situation may not be in another.

Something that must be considered is the value of whatever your attacker wants in relation to your life and/or that of another. Is your life really worth the contents of your wallet? On the other hand, does anyone have the right to come up and threaten your life and take from you that which is yours? This is something that needs to be quietly reflected upon by each and every person in order to find out for yourself what is best for you.

In closing, I would like to emphasize the fact that at all times you should try and avoid potentially dangerous or violent situations. However, if you are unable to, always use only that force which is necessary for each given situation. Remember, every situation is going to be uniquely different and what may work well in one situation may be totally inappropriate to use in another. Always try to use your brains before using your brawn.

One final thought, even though you may be totally in the right, you may still find yourself facing civil as well as criminal charges. I highly recommend that you should have a qualified and competent criminal attorney on retainer just in case. Especially if you are in an occupation where you have to use physical force as part of your job, such as; a police officer, correctional officer, security guard, bouncer, etc.

Shawn Kovacich has been practicing the martial arts for over 25 years and currently holds the rank of 4th degree (Yodan) black belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Shawn has also competed in such prestigious full-contact bare knuckle karate competitions as the Shidokan Open and the Sabaki Challenge, among others. In addition to his many accomplishments, Shawn is also a two time world record holder for endurance high kicking as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Shawn is the author of the highly acclaimed Achieving Kicking Excellence? series and can be reached via his web site at:

To sign up for the Chikara Kan, Inc. Newsletter, click on the following link: Newsletter and fill in your e-mail address in the Newsletter box on the right hand side of the page and then click subscribe.

No comments:

Post a Comment