Kansas
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Vincent Rivera, Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney

Kansas Self Defense Attorney

As a criminal defense law firm, we understand that being charged with a crime can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, especially when the incident in question involves self-defense.

Kansas laws are "self-defense friendly" but can be complex and difficult to navigate, which is why we are here to help. On this page, you will find information on the legal definition of self-defense in Kansas, as well as the requirements that must be met in order for a self-defense claim to be valid.

We will also discuss the potential consequences of being charged with a crime involving self-defense and the ways in which our experienced attorneys can help you through the legal process. We hope that this information will provide you with a better understanding of your rights and the steps you can take to protect them.

Kansas distinguishes between deadly force and non-deadly force

How much force can you use? When can you use force? Kansas distinguishes between deadly force and non-deadly force.

  • Deadly force is defined as “force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm”

  • Non deadly force is “force that is not likely to cause death or great bodily harm.” Non-deadly force also includes threats, gestures, and displaying a weapon.

  • Property
    To protect property, you can only use a “reasonable” amount of force. You can never use deadly force to protect property.

  • People
    You can use deadly force to protect yourself or others from “death or great bodily harm.”

  • Proportionality of Force: The amount of force used in self-defense must be proportional to the perceived threat.

No matter what the situation, your actions must be “reasonable.” Whether you used a “reasonable” amount of force is a central question in a self-defense case. This is the question police, prosecutors, judges, and juries will base their decisions on.

Reasonable belief

Whether you use deadly or non-deadly force, you must first have a “reasonable belief” that such force is “necessary.” Second, the level of force used must be “reasonable.”

A “reasonable belief” requires: 1) a subjective, mental belief by you, and 2) actual facts supporting your belief.

Consider two examples, each is lacking an essential element:

The shooter is fearfully walking through a dark alley. The cook pops out (emptying the trash) and is shot immediately. Here, the shooter lacked “reasonable belief.” Despite having the correct mental belief, there were no facts supporting their fear.

Your best friend is jokingly waiving a knife at you. Here, despite the fact that there's a knife being waived in your face, you don’t believe you’re in danger.

Kansas is not a duty to retreat state

The "duty to retreat" is a legal principle that requires a person to attempt to retreat or withdraw from a confrontation before using force in self-defense.

The duty to retreat is based on the idea that the use of force should always be a last resort and that a person should try to avoid violence whenever possible.

The extent of the duty to retreat varies depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances.

Kansas is a stand your ground state

“Stand your ground" laws, eliminate the duty to retreat and allow a person to use force in self-defense when they are in a place where they have a legal right to be and they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of bodily harm or death.

"Stand your ground" laws, also known as "no duty to retreat" laws, refer to laws that eliminate the legal requirement for an individual to retreat before using force in self-defense. In states with "stand your ground" laws, you are allowed to use force in self-defense when they are in a place where they have a legal right to be and they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of bodily harm or death. This means that an individual does not have to try to retreat or flee from a dangerous situation before using force to protect themselves.

In Kansas, the Stand Your Ground law states that a person does not have a duty to retreat before using force in self-defense if they are in a place where they have a legal right to be. The law also states that a person has the right to defend themselves against force or threatened force, whether in the home or outside of the home. In addition, a person is allowed to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another person.

It's important to note that even with Stand Your Ground laws, the use of force in self-defense must still be reasonable under the circumstances. An individual cannot use excessive force or continue to use force after the threat has ended, and the individual can't claim self-defense if they were the initial aggressor. A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the laws and build a defense if you are charged with a crime involving self-defense.

Castle doctrine

Kansas’ “castle doctrine” is broad applying in your home, occupied vehicle, or place of business.

The "castle doctrine" is a legal principle that gives people the right to use deadly force to defend their home and family without a duty to retreat. The principle is based on the idea that a person's home is their "castle" and they have the right to protect it from intruders.

The specific laws and application of the castle doctrine vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally, it allows homeowners to use deadly force against an intruder if they reasonably believe that the intruder poses a threat of death or serious bodily harm to themselves or their family. Some states also extend the castle doctrine to include property like a car or workplace.

Kansas’ castle doctrine creates a presumption, that when a self-defense situation arises, in your home, occupied vehicle, or workplace, you’re presumed to have a reasonable belief of death or great bodily harm.

Kansas’ castle doctrine cannot be claimed if the other person was lawfully in that location. For example, a roommate.

Initial aggressor

The "initial aggressor rule" is a legal principle that applies to self-defense claims. It states that a person who initiates a confrontation or aggression cannot claim self-defense if the situation escalates to the point of requiring the use of force. In other words, if a person starts a fight, they cannot later claim self-defense if their opponent fights back. This rule is in place to prevent individuals from using self-defense as a way to justify aggressive or illegal behavior. However, the initial aggressor rule is not absolute and the person who initiated the confrontation can still claim self-defense if they can show that they withdrew from the confrontation, effectively ended the fight, and their opponent continued to threaten or attack them.

It is also worth noting that the initial aggressor rule can be a bit complicated in certain scenarios, such as when both parties are involved in mutual fight, or when one party is defending themselves from an unprovoked attack. In these cases, the court will consider all the evidence and circumstances to determine who was the initial aggressor, and if the use of force in self-defense was reasonable. This is where an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to build a strong defense and to present evidence that supports your self-defense claim.

Is it true that when police use deadly force that they do not have to give a statement for 72 hours

In some jurisdictions, police officers involved in incidents where deadly force is used are given a "cooling off" period before they are required to give a statement. This period is typically referred to as a "48-hour rule" or "72-hour rule" and is intended to allow the officer time to collect their thoughts, consult with legal counsel and to ensure the accuracy and completeness of their statement.

However, it's important to note that the specific rules and regulations regarding the delay of a statement from a police officer may vary by jurisdiction, and it's best to consult with a legal professional in your area to understand the specific laws and regulations in your state or country. Additionally, in some jurisdictions, the rule may only apply to the officer who used the force, and not to all officers present during the incident.

It's also important to note that the rule is not a privilege but rather a right of the officer, and it's up to the officer to decide whether they want to wait before giving a statement or not.

It's also worth mentioning that the use of force by the police is subject to review and investigation by the department and the jurisdiction, even if the officer did not give a statement right away.

Our Kansas Criminal Defense Firm Can Help

Self-defense laws vary from state to state, but in Kansas, an individual is allowed to use reasonable force to protect themselves or another person from imminent harm. In order for a self-defense claim to be valid, the individual must have had a reasonable belief that they or another person were in danger of harm and that the use of force was necessary to prevent that harm.

It is important to note that an individual cannot use excessive force or continue to use force after the threat has ended. Additionally, an individual cannot claim self-defense if they were the initial aggressor or if they could have safely retreated from the situation.

As a criminal defense attorney, I can help potential clients understand the specific nuances of Kansas self-defense laws and how they apply to their individual case. I can also help to gather and present evidence that supports a self-defense claim, as well as negotiate with prosecutors to potentially have charges reduced or dismissed.

It is also important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you have been charged with a crime involving self-defense, as there are certain steps that need to be taken to preserve evidence and protect your rights.