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In Hawaii, When Is Self Defense Actually Homicide?

When you find yourself in a threatening situation, do you have the right to defend yourself? The obvious answer is yes. But the circumstances surrounding your situation have a tremendous impact in determining if it was legal for you to use deadly force. 

Hawaii's self-defense law, which is broader than in many other states, attempts to spell out exactly what is legal and what isn't when it comes to defending yourself. However, as with many state and federal laws, the provisions of the statute don't cover every possible scenario.

Where does Hawaii draw the line in cases of self defense vs. homicide? The so-called stand your ground provision under HRS 703-304 allows the use of deadly force only if the actor believes that deadly force is necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, rape, or forcible sodomy.

The language of the law seems simple enough. But proving your innocence can get complicated in a court of law. It depends on what and where the incident happened:

  • Were you at home or at work?
  • Did your attacker have a weapon?
  • Was your attacker under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

The answers to these and other questions supported by evidence can make or break your case.

An experienced Hawaii defense attorney can help you understand your rights and remove ambiguity in interpreting the provisions of the law as it pertains to your specific situation. The attorney conducts a thorough investigation and prepares the best possible defense for you.

Don't let prosecutors and law enforcement interpret the law for you. Get your own legal advocate to represent you today.

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  • HSBA Hawaii State Bar Association
  • Judiciary State Of Hawaii
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  • United States District Court, Northern District of California
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