Recently Fair Lawn authorities charged a husband and wife after an alleged altercation involving road rage and another driver. News reports indicate problems began when the husband stopped his minivan in front of a compact car. After the drivers emerged from each vehicle, they exchanged words. Next, news reports claim the husband returned to his vehicle and got a golf club. Subsequently, he hit the other man in the head with it, per the news. Because the physical struggle continued, the wife also allegedly struck the man several times with club. Thus, some might view her actions as defense of others. Nevertheless, the cops charged the husband and wife with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Defense of Others, N.J.S.A. 2c:3-5
Subject to the provisions of this section and of section 2C:3-9, the use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when:
- The actor would be justified under section 2C:3-4 in using such force to protect himself against the injury he believes to be threatened to the person whom he seeks to protect; and
- Under the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and
- The actor reasonably believes that his intervention is necessary for the protection of such other person.
Notwithstanding subsection a. of this section:
- When the actor would be obliged under section 2c:3-4(b)(2)(b) to retreat or take other action he is not obliged to do so before using force for the protection of another person, unless he knows that he can thereby secure the complete safety of such other person, and
- When the person whom the actor seeks to protect would be obliged under section 2c:3-4(b)(2)(b) to retreat or take similar action if he knew that he could obtain complete safety by so doing, the actor is obliged to try to cause him to do so before using force in his protection if the actor knows that he can obtain complete safety in that way; and
- Neither the actor nor the person whom he seeks to protect is obliged to retreat when in the other’s dwelling to any greater extent than in his own.
Did the cops charge you after you defended a friend?
New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving Use of Force for the Protection of Other Persons.