When is it legal to brandish a knife in self-defense?


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newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 06:49 PM
If somebody is threatening with language/body language, can you brandish a knife to try to end the situation or do you have to wait until you are physically attacked?

And if you have to wait til you are attacked is it disproportionate to use a knife against fists?

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kingpin008
December 13, 2008, 06:51 PM
You're going to have to post a location - self-defense and weapons laws vary wildly from state to state, and sometimes even from county to county.

MaterDei
December 13, 2008, 06:57 PM
What loaded questions you ask!

I can't imagine anybody 'threatening' with language or body language.

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 06:59 PM
"brandish" is a legal term that I believe means to "illegally threaten with or display". I'm no lawyer though.

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:01 PM
Well let's say "brandish" in the non-legal sense - i.e. wielding it in such a way as to deter further aggression.

This is in Michigan

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:02 PM
Of cours people can threaten with words. "I'm gonna get you" and balling up their fists, etc.

SamG.
December 13, 2008, 07:02 PM
Well let's say "brandish" in the non-legal sense - i.e. wielding it in such a way as to deter further aggression.

I believe that's still brandishing

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 07:04 PM
I don't think that's legal. If you pull a knife in self defense, you'd better use it. Otherwise, you didn't need to pull it in the first place. Right?

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:05 PM
No, no, you're not understanding.

I'm saying when can you brandish, not using that in the legal sense. It is possible to brandish in the way I said and it not be illegal - i.e. in a valid self defense situation. If somebody was shooting at you you could "brandish" as I just defined it.

It's like saying when can I legally "assault" somebody. I realize assault legally is an offense but there is a non-legal sense. I'm asking when can you whip out your knife.

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:06 PM
"I don't think that's legal. If you pull a knife in self defense, you'd better use it. Otherwise, you didn't need to pull it in the first place. Right?"

If that's true it's a really bad rule - you should be able to diffuse sitautions! Maybe what you mean is - you cannot wield it UNLESS you are also legally okay with using it.

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 07:07 PM
You can whip out your knife a second or two before you plunge it into a bad guy that is trying to kill you.

And that's the ONLY time it's legal...as far as I know.

SamG.
December 13, 2008, 07:07 PM
When they brandish a weapon

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:08 PM
You can whip out your knife a second or two before you plunge it into a bad guy that is trying to kill you.

And that's the ONLY time it's legal...as far as I know.

Thanks...so somebody just about to beat you up isn't enough. That's weird - why should you have to fight!

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 07:12 PM
I'm only offering my opinion. I'm not a cop or a lawyer.

But if someone is going to beat you up, what makes you think they are going to stop beating you once you're unconscious? How do you know they won't beat you til you're dead? Why should you take that chance?

scottgun
December 13, 2008, 07:15 PM
That's weird - why should you have to fight!

You don't have to fight. Walk away, if that doesn't work, then run.

To answer your orginal quesiton - you can't use a weapon against someone who doesn't have a weapon, basically.

legaleagle_45
December 13, 2008, 07:16 PM
For the sake of argument, I will assume that the knife to be brandished is also considered a "deadly weapon".

You are allowed to brandish if you are allowed to use. Thus, you can brandish if 2 conditions are met:

1.) You are in actual fear of the unlawful use of force which would result in death OR serious bodily harm; AND,

2.) A reasonable person would be in actual fear of the unlawful use of force which would result in death OR serious bodily harm.

It is both a subjective and objective test.

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 07:23 PM
Ok. Now I have a question for legaleagle:

If one "legally brandishes" and then fails to use, isn't that "failure to use" proof that the brandish wasn't legal in the first place?

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:25 PM
Ok. Now I have a question for legaleagle:

If one "legally brandishes" and then fails to use, isn't that "failure to use" proof that the brandish wasn't legal in the first place?

Dude no offense but that is really poor reasoning, and if you know anything about the law you know it would not set up a scheme like that. Think about it: why would you p unish somebody for declining to do what they had a right to do? And if you're legally justified in pulling a gun out for instance you are not punished if you decide not to shoot.

newbie4help
December 13, 2008, 07:27 PM
For the sake of argument, I will assume that the knife to be brandished is also considered a "deadly weapon".

You are allowed to brandish if you are allowed to use. Thus, you can brandish if 2 conditions are met:

1.) You are in actual fear of the unlawful use of force which would result in death OR serious bodily harm; AND,

2.) A reasonable person would be in actual fear of the unlawful use of force which would result in death OR serious bodily harm.

It is both a subjective and objective test.

Thank you. I thought it was the same test.

deadin
December 13, 2008, 07:27 PM
When is it legal to brandish a knife in self-defense?

Usually about two or three seconds before the other guy pulls a gun and shoots you. You pull a knife, you are threatening deadly harm to the other guy and he then becomes justified to protect himself with deadly force.

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 07:34 PM
I dunno, why would anyone but a no-brain punk pull a weapon that he didn't intend to use?

giddonah
December 13, 2008, 07:34 PM
You don't have to fight. Walk away, if that doesn't work, then run.

To answer your orginal quesiton - you can't use a weapon against someone who doesn't have a weapon, basically.
I've seen this addressed a couple times on THR. Running away sometimes isn't possible. What if I'm on crutches? What if I'm fat and slow? What if I'm with someone who can't run? States that make you run away make me sick.

As far as using a weapon against someone without a weapon, I believe the term is "disparity of force". If my wife, all 115lbs of her, is faced with a 250lb rapist with no weapon, you bet I tell her every chance I get, empty your gun into him.

zxcvbob
December 13, 2008, 07:34 PM
If you "brandish" your knife, you give away a huge tactical advantage. BG shouldn't know you have a knife until it's too late.

Treo
December 13, 2008, 07:55 PM
I dunno, why would anyone but a no-brain punk pull a weapon that he didn't intend to use?

Back in '95 or so I got jumped in a parking lot. Dude came out from between two cars probably less than 12 feet away from me. I drew, I brandished my weapon and dude bailed. I had every intention of using the weapon but circumstances dictated otherwise.

It happens that way in about 2/3 of SD weapons displays.

legaleagle_45
December 13, 2008, 08:38 PM
If one "legally brandishes" and then fails to use, isn't that "failure to use" proof that the brandish wasn't legal in the first place?

No. The act may eliviate the need to use. You brandish the knife, the perp sees it and starts running away. The justification for the use of deadly force then disappears...

Loomis
December 13, 2008, 09:02 PM
Ok. Then the failure to use was a result of a combination of two things...being too slow, and possibly misjudging the level of danger of the situation.

JohnKSa
December 13, 2008, 09:09 PM
TX law addresses this specifically.

http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/PE/content/htm/pe.002.00.000009.00.htm#9.04.00

THREATS AS JUSTIFIABLE FORCE. The threat of force is justified when the use of force is justified by this chapter. For purposes of this section, a threat to cause death or serious bodily injury by the production of a weapon or otherwise, as long as the actor's purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute the use of deadly force.
TX law differentiates between force & deadly force. Basically you can threaten deadly force when force is justified even if the actual use of deadly force is not justified.

jad0110
December 13, 2008, 09:17 PM
I'm asking when can you whip out your knife.

First, I am not a lawyer, so what I say may or may not apply to your locale, but I believe this is generally correct.

The conditions that must exist for when you can legally whip out a knife are no different for when you can draw a firearm.

These are the three conditions:

Opportunity, Ability and Motive.

1. Opportunity: The aggressor must have the immediate opportunity to inflict serious bodily harm or death (somebody with a tire iron threatening you from behind a 12 foot, barbed wire fence doesn't have the immediate opportunity to attack you. If a few minutes later the punk has found a way around said fence and approaches you, things start to change.)

2. Ability: The person(s) threatening you must have the ability to inflict serious bodily harm or death upon you. Mere words and threats DON'T cut it. The assailant must either possess a weapon of some sort (club, gun, knife, RPG, etc) OR disparity of force

you can't use a weapon against someone who doesn't have a weapon, basically.

Not necessarily true. Disparity of Force. Disparity of force means you are outnumbered, or it may mean that the aggressor(s) are much bigger, younger and/or faster than you. Remember, real life aint hollywood. Fist blows can be lethal.

3. Motive. If you stop by my house and I show you my gun collection, I possess (1) the opportunity to do you harm (within the walls of my home, you are most assuredly in range of my Finnish Mosin :p - which represents the (2) ability to do harm.) What is missing is the motivation, or intent to do you harm or death.

Of course, the reasonable person standard applies.

All three of the above must be present to justify use of deadly force. And in most (if not all) jurisdictions, the mere act of drawing a DEADLY weapon is considered by law automatically to be use of LETHAL FORCE. Again, just the act of drawing. If you draw your weapon and only 2 of the 3 conditions above exist,you can be charged and convicted of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't take the threat seriously. If you are able to distance yourself from the situtation, that would be the wisest course of action, all the while keeping your guard up (Col Jeff Coopers "Condition Orange, IIRC).

GregGry
December 14, 2008, 10:30 PM
All three of the above must be present to justify use of deadly force. And in most (if not all) jurisdictions, the mere act of drawing a DEADLY weapon is considered by law automatically to be use of LETHAL FORCE. Again, just the act of drawing. If you draw your weapon and only 2 of the 3 conditions above exist,you can be charged and convicted of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

This is completely wrong. Lets say you are an officer and you are on patrol. You get a call about a person breaking in to a house. You show up, and when you are approaching the situation are you going to have your hands empty or your firearm in your hands? Obviously your firearm will be in your hands. Lets say you confront the person at a distance of 15 feet away, and they have a crowbar in their hands. You point your gun at them (Finger off the trigger until your going to shoot of course) and order them to drop the crowbar. They comply, and with cover you go in and cuff them.

According to what you said the officer just used Lethal Force and could be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. Again that is completely incorrect, even if it was a home owner that was in the same situation. This theory of mearly drawing a firearm/knife is the use of deadly force would dictate that the only time you should draw a firearm is if youíre going to pull the trigger. This mindset is wrong because its going to cause numerous problems, such as: A) your going to wait until the last second to draw your weapon, which is going to get you hurt or worse, and B) once your weapon is out you have to pull the trigger/stab, which means that you very well could be completely unjustified.



The green light for the use of deadly force can be simplified into weapon, intent, and delivery system. If the person has a weapon (which is this case is something that has the potential to kill), the intent to use it, and a way to use it, the formula is complete and deadly force can be used. With things like firearms and knives, the ability for them to kill is easily seen, however even just fists could qualify depending on the circumstances.

Drawing a knife or a firearm can easily be justified be it an officer or anyone else. If you are faced with a person that is going to attack you (they are in a boxer stance with their fists up) one of the stupidest things you could do is try to enter the fight equal with them. If you want to stay alive and unhurt, you have to either have the deck stacked in your favor, or get the hell out of dodge.

Drawing a firearm or knife in this situation is easily justifiable in court. Your object was to not get harmed. Going fists to fists would have had a high probability of you getting harmed, especially if you don't know how to fight.


So to go back to the original post:

If somebody is threatening with language/body language, can you brandish a knife to try to end the situation or do you have to wait until you are physically attacked?

And if you have to wait til you are attacked is it disproportionate to use a knife against fists?

If I was walking to my car in a parking structure, and a guy is standing ahead of me in a boxer/offensive stance, saying he is going to kick my behind, your darn right I would draw a knife or firearm if thatís what I had on me. I wouldn't wait to be attacked, nor would I try to duke it out since I could be seriously injured or killed.

With officers it tends to be different because of the tools that are carried. Many officers have pepper spray, tazers, batons, knives, and firearms. Since there are many different tools that can be used, its easier to meet the attackers force with 1 level of force higher (which is what you have to do unless you want to risk your life). In the case of the guy with his dukes up, I would get my baton, pepper spray, or taser out. If all I had at my disposal is my firearm then I would pull it (which yes drawing a firearm and pointing at someone is a use of force) and there wouldn't be a question of justifiability.

The problem comes in if a person that has their dukes up calls your bluff and attacks you when you have your weapon drawn. An officer is held to a higher standard due to training and the tools available, so using deadly force (Pulling the trigger) in that situation might be hard to justify. Officer-subject factors come in. A 110 pound woman that is faced with someone like mike Tyson, and pulls the trigger, is going to have a stronger case then a guy like me who is 6'5 280 and a lot of muscle who pulls the trigger. I can take a lot more abuse then a much smaller/weaker person. That doesn't mean I have to be beaten near death to be justified in using a knife or a gun.

dogngun
December 15, 2008, 01:45 PM
I like knives, and I have been looking at the legal aspects of carrying a knife for protection for several years. It's pretty comlicated, much moreso than a gun. I found that many times what the LEO's think is legal varies not only from state to state, but from town to town. There are a few national organizstions trying to get all this under control, but right now, it the cop thinks you are not legal, you are deep in it and you need a lawyer.

There is NO consistant knife law, brandishing law, carrying law or even posession law on knives even within counties.
In the state where I live it is illegal for me to carry a switchblade or assisted opening knife, and according to some interpretations to even posess one, even in my home, locked in a drawer.
Carry what you will at your risk.
I'd like to give you some good news here, but there isn't much to give.

mark

withdrawn34
December 15, 2008, 04:25 PM
Unless you're backed into a corner, it seems that if you have time to "brandish" a knife, you might be able to just run away, which avoids all the trouble.

dvcrsn
December 15, 2008, 05:04 PM
Paul--the effectiveness of running away depends on the person--a skinny kid that runs on his high school or college cross country team has running as a very effective option. For someone like me--fat and on a knee I screwed up in the army (and a good time for me for 2 miles was 17 minutes--20 years ago) running is not a realistic option

HoosierQ
December 15, 2008, 05:17 PM
I am with zxcvbob on this one.

1. A knife is not a stand off weapon like a firearm can be...got be right there so brandishing it is not going to do you much good if the guy is 5 feet away...you might as well flip him the bird...all the while he is figuring out what to do with you...remember all he has to do is stay 5 feet away from you and you are defenseless.

2. As a weapon, a knife is even more of a last resort than a gun...you'd leave your knife in your pocket if you had a gun right? So basically, with only a knife available to you, it pretty much has to be "Hey buddy, sorry for the aggravation, I am gonna get our of you hair right now", retreat and if he comes after you and grabs you then...ZZZZIP from out of nowhere comes the blade and in 1 second you are retreating again.

At that point you did what you could do and that's about it for legality. I am also not a lawyer.

expvideo
December 15, 2008, 05:37 PM
I don't think that's legal. If you pull a knife in self defense, you'd better use it. Otherwise, you didn't need to pull it in the first place. Right?

Wow. That's some pretty f***ed up advice. Don't listen to it, please. You are never EVER legally obligated to shoot or stab anyone. EVER.

Anyway, you'll want to stop thinking about the legality. When it becomes legal to threaten someone with a knife is about the same time you start thinking "Forget the law, this guy's gonna kill me!" If you still have the ability to care what the law says, the situation does not require a threat of deadly force. Now YMMV, but for the most part, I'd say that's a pretty good mentality to have and it will keep you out of trouble 99% of the time. Just try to do everything in your power to not have to pull it out, and only do so when all other options have been exhausted and a jail cell is starting to look better than a coffin. If you aren't affraid for your life like that, then you weren't justified in the first place.

Grey_Mana
December 15, 2008, 05:58 PM
It's like pornography - the "I know it when I see it" standard. The occassion to brandish legally is poorly defined, but the judge will decide after the fact.

Rmeju
December 16, 2008, 09:01 AM
Wow,

There's some really bad advice so far on this thread.

I don't know the laws in MI. You should before you step foot out of your house again. In general they look something kinda-sorta like what another poster said, which is to say that your assailant has the 1.intent and the 2.ability to cause you 3.immediate death or great bodily harm. Giving you a beat down does NOT nececessarily mean you are suffering death or great bodily harm, but it could.

If you and some guy at a bar get into it, fists only, and you're the same size, you are probably not standing on solid legal ground drawing a weapon. Parroting the advice that you didn't want to get a boo-boo and that it's sound tactical advice to go into a situation with the deck stacked in your favor is going to sound stupid and arrogant to a judge and jury. If the guy was some sort of crazy ninja-master, there were four of him, or he was a football player twice your size, that helps your case, maybe significantly, but may or may not make it.

Or if the guy is just a normal-sized drunk, but you have some sort of weird fragile bone disease, that also changes the equation, even if your assailant is only using his fists. Or if you're pregnant (let's hope not :D ) etc. etc. etc.

The point is, there is no formula. Even in states that clearly define use and threat of deadly force, even in a defender's favor, you should expect to defend your actions in a court of law.

Avoid, prevent, flee, fight in that order. Skip the flee step if it will get you hurt, but again, be prepared to defend yourself in court.

woodybrighton
December 16, 2008, 11:45 AM
as your in the states a gun taser or mace make a better option than a knife :uhoh:

in fact just about anything makes a better option than a knife

JDoe
December 16, 2008, 11:52 AM
The bad guy might look at you pulling a knife or other weapon as an exciting opportunity to test his/her skills and that might include pulling the gun you didn't know he/she had or taking your knife away from you before using it on you.

GregGry
December 16, 2008, 12:24 PM
that it's sound tactical advice to go into a situation with the deck stacked in your favor is going to sound stupid and arrogant to a judge and jury

If you are involved in a self defense situation and you don't have the deck staked in your favor you are going to get hurt or worse. The deck being stacked could be because you have a knife, a gun, better self defense training, or being able to run faster then the wind.

It comes down to "were you afraid for your life" and "is your fear reasonable". Its pretty simple formula. By establishing weapon/intent/delivery system you can show that your fear was reasonble. If you can't establish it then your in big trouble.

KillBoxAlpha
December 16, 2008, 12:30 PM
There are no brandishing laws in Alabama, therefore it would be legal at any time. That being said, if you brandish a knife and got shot because of it, even though you weren't the initial aggressor, the DA would say "good shoot" since you would be considered the attacker.

LKB3rd
December 16, 2008, 12:55 PM
Seems to me that a knife is "lethal force" the same as a gun, and the same rules would apply.

conw
December 16, 2008, 01:09 PM
Wow. That's some pretty f***ed up advice. Don't listen to it, please. You are never EVER legally obligated to shoot or stab anyone. EVER.

Anyway, you'll want to stop thinking about the legality. When it becomes legal to threaten someone with a knife is about the same time you start thinking "Forget the law, this guy's gonna kill me!" If you still have the ability to care what the law says, the situation does not require a threat of deadly force. Now YMMV, but for the most part, I'd say that's a pretty good mentality to have and it will keep you out of trouble 99% of the time. Just try to do everything in your power to not have to pull it out, and only do so when all other options have been exhausted and a jail cell is starting to look better than a coffin. If you aren't affraid for your life like that, then you weren't justified in the first place.

The laws aren't that complicated unless you're some kind of jet-set 48-state traveller and have to remember every jurisdiction in the US.

I think that the common thread, as well as common sense dictate, tends to be that you are not justified using lethal force or presenting lethal force unless you are facing lethal force (with no justification on the attacker's part - i.e. you didn't start it).

Forget about saying "I'm afraid for my life, f the law" - that's no standard; just embed the legally correct thing to do into your protocol. Here's a good example

1) I don't go to places where I feel I'm likely to need to defend myself
2) If I feel at all threatened or suspicious, if possible I leave the area
3) If I feel threatened or suspicious and can't leave, I either try to de-escalate or take cover until the threat subsides
4) If not 3 and I am in imminent fear for my life, I defend using lethal force.

That's a much better plan than standing around until you're "so worried for your life that you forget what the law says." Geesh.

The thing is, fat dudes with bum knees aside, most attackers who would give you a chance to brandish without hurting you first - let's be honest, brandishing any kind of weapon for more than a second or so and not using it is an indication that you didn't need to use it right then - will likely stand down if you leave.

The other thing is, if you pull a weapon with no intent to use it then you just escalated/threw your line in the water and you can possibly be just as culpable as the other guy (if not more, depending on what he was actually doing).

Bottom line, don't pull it unless you're ready to use it. Know when and why you can and should use it. If he stands down, don't use it, but don't count on that.

expvideo
December 16, 2008, 01:22 PM
That's a much better plan than standing around until you're "so worried for your life that you forget what the law says." Geesh.
You obviously missed my point. My point was that you should take the steps you mentioned above. Avoid the situation, try to leave, try to talk your attacker down, etc. When all other options are exhausted, you will either be affraid for your life or you won't. If you are, you will get to a point where you just want to get out of there alive no matter what the cost. In other words, if you haven't hit the point of being so concerned for your immediate safety that the law doesn't matter, you probably aren't justified in brandishing a weapon of any kind.

Does that clear it up? By the time you are actually justified to threaten deadly force, you will be at a stage of fight-or-flight that you can't care anymore about what the consequences are, so long as you get out alive. It is at that point that you know you are justified.

Now YMMV, but that's the way I see it. I never said that threatening deadly force was something you should do before using it, but suggesting that you MUST use deadly force just because you have presented it is REALLY bad advice. The situation may change because you have presented deadly force, even if it only took a split second for you to reach back to your holster, or you haven't even opened your blade. If the situation changes, then you might not be justified in using force anymore.

Just for clarity, I will repeat what I said earlier. You are never EVER legally obligated to use deadly force. Presenting a weapon does not require you to use it, just because it was presented. If you aren't planning on using it, you should not be presenting it, but that doesn't mean that you have to use it just because it cleared leather.

GregGry
December 16, 2008, 01:50 PM
you are not justified using lethal force or presenting lethal force unless you are facing lethal force

Ok so when I am on duty and I draw my firearm when I am doing room clearing, confronting a person who is banging on a door with a crowbar, or the million other things that I have run into, I am not justified in what I did?

To use deadly force is different from having something that can cause death or great bodily harm. If someone has a knife in their hand they have a weapon that can cause death or great bodily harm, however unless they actually use it they haven't "used deadly force".

The other thing is, if you pull a weapon with no intent to use it then you just escalated/threw your line in the water and you can possibly be just as culpable as the other guy (if not more, depending on what he was actually doing).

There is a difference in a person drawing a firearm with no intention of using it and drawing a firearm and using it if needed. Explain to me how you know what a another person is going to do so well that you can predict their actions. I have drawn and pointed my firearm at people numerous times over the years. The situations could have easily turned worse then they did. I have never had to pull the trigger, the situations worked out without the need to. However in a blink of an eye they could have turned into bad situations. Am I supposed to wait until a perp has a firearm out and pointed at me before I draw? If they have a knife that they are holding, and they are saying they are going to cut their own throat, am I supposed to keep my firearm holsted? What if the person decides to run at me instead of cutting their throat? In an instant their intent changed, and having your firearm in a holster is no place for it since you will be stabbed many times over before you can even remotely try to stop the threat.

Bottom line, don't pull it unless you're ready to use it. Know when and why you can and should use it. If he stands down, don't use it, but don't count on that. This makes since and when applied right can be correct. However the problem is the way a situation plays out will determine if you use it or not. No matter how good you think you are at reading situations/people, you have no idea whats going to happen. I have seen many videos of officer being killed in the line of duty because they tried to talk to a person that is weilding a firearm, and get them to put the gun down.

GregGry
December 16, 2008, 01:55 PM
Also, if you were in fear of your life and your fear is reasonable you can use deadly force. However drawing a knife or gun and saying if you come any closer I will shoot/stab, is not using deadly force, it is threating deadly force if a person completes the force triagle. You can still give orders to a person when you have a weapon at ready as well.

JImbothefiveth
December 16, 2008, 02:19 PM
Carrying a knife is illegal in Michigan anyway, at least when I lived there.

I'd imagine you would legally be okay pulling out a legally concealed weapon if you are in fear of your life.

If you pull a weapon and the attacker stops at the sight of it, and is no longer a threat, you are NOT okay to use your weapon, despite what some people may say.

Cyborg
December 16, 2008, 02:22 PM
I don't know about Mi and don't really want to know. It might not be a bad thing to contact an attorney and get their take on threat of use of force in Mi. I live in Texas and sec. 9.4 is all I need to know about drawing a weapon on someone. If force is justified then threat of deadly force is NOT the USE of deadly force if I am only trying to make the guy think I am WILLING/PREPARED to use deadly force. But that would not be brandishing.

Best thing for you to do is get a reading from a legal expert/practicioner if you are really worried. The variance from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction within a state is too great for anything you read here to be something on which to bet your liberty.

I would not carry anything for SD that forced me to get within the BG's reach before I could deploy the weapon. Also, you should be aware that "less than lethal" or "less lethal" options like OC (pepper) spray are not always effective, nor are they always non-lethal. OC is only effective about 80% of the time. Adrenaline, alcohol, some illegal drugs and other factors can allow the BG to shrug off a dose of OC that would essentially blind you and me (and raise welts on my skin) and keep coming. For that reason I use my right hand to wield my LTL weapons (OC, Asp) even though I use my left hand (I am a southpaw) to shoot. I spray or swing with my left han ON my sidearm and if I have to go up the forcepyramid, I can do so almost instantaneously.

Cyborg
A wise man once told me. "Son, they's parole from prison. Ain't no parole from a pine box." Or as my friends in Law Enforcement tell me, "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6."

conw
December 16, 2008, 02:53 PM
GregGry,

Your perspective is informed by being a police officer. Despite the tenor of your post, that IS a substantially different situation. While you are only justified in using lethal force in the same immediate circumstances as me (a non-LEO) - i.e., protecting innocent life - you have much more leeway with drawing your weapon. This may not be written literally anywhere, but you are assumed to be acting in good faith if you draw your firearm, within reason, whereas I am not.

What standards you're held to when responding to a call or "clearing a room" have no bearing on what standards I'm held to when I'm in a typical encounter, which begins with a threatening gesture or (sometimes) intimidation tactics - I am responding in a literal sense to someone's actions, where as you are showing up and, generally, being responded to. For that reason, all things being equal (you are however more likely to BE in a lethal force encounter through sheer probability), you actually have the comparative advantage as you go into most situations prepared to use force. I am forced to respond to situations as they come up.

I concede that my rules weren't perfectly worded - there are some situations where a reasonable non-LEO would be justified drawing without absolute surety of facing lethal force, but they are still based on the presumption of a threat, like hearing a noise in one's own house or someone else having a knife out acting unpredictable/threatening.
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expvideo,

I simply interpreted the person's statements you responded to differently. They were worded a bit clumsily, but I don't think he literally meant "Use it if you draw it," just that most times you draw it you're going to need to use it - that you should never count on deterrence.

Art Eatman
December 16, 2008, 02:54 PM
It seems to me that "brandish", from a legal standpoint vis a vis weapons, has to do with threatening an innocent person. A person who has legitimate reason to believe he is in a true self-defense situation is not brandishing in that same sense of the word. Whether one uses "display" or "brandish" is beside the point, totally separate from defending oneself.

If the Bad Guy sees you have some sort of capability of defending yourself, as via a legally-possessed knife, and he ceases his own misbehavior of whatever sort, you've done nothing wrong.

Purely opinion, of course, but it seems like a rational sequence of thoughts.

Which of course is why folks who think as most of us do oughta try to make it past voir dire and onto a jury, instead of leaving it up to those who dutifully take the negative attitude toward self defense...

expvideo
December 16, 2008, 03:01 PM
I simply interpreted the person's statements you responded to differently. They were worded a bit clumsily, but I don't think he literally meant "Use it if you draw it," just that most times you draw it you're going to need to use it - that you should never count on deterrence.
When you put it that way, I agree.

Geno
December 16, 2008, 04:04 PM
In Michigan, we can be licensed to carry only one form of weapon: handgun.

Cop pulls you over and asks if you have weapon and you say "Sure, my knife", you're going to the pokie. If you say, "No, but I do happen to have my pocket knife with me. But that isn't for self-defense", your fine, so long as you're not in some of the psycho-cities that prohibit carrying any form of blade. So, in fact, it varies even within the state.

My advice, call a lawyer. Know the law, and comply with the law.

Doc2005

Rmeju
December 16, 2008, 10:55 PM
If you are involved in a self defense situation and you don't have the deck staked in your favor you are going to get hurt or worse. The deck being stacked could be because you have a knife, a gun, better self defense training, or being able to run faster then the wind.

Greg, you only responded to half of my intended meaning there. Obviously everyone, everywhere, knows that going into a fight with the deck stacked in your favor is better for you. I'm with you there.

The point I was trying to make was that using that as a defense for presenting or using lethal force in an otherwise non-lethal, non-grave bodily harm kind of situation would, in my most humble of opinions, not pass a judge/jury smell test.

That's what I was trying to say. Hope that clears it up.

LIQUID SNAKE
December 17, 2008, 06:17 AM
Okay, from what I'm getting you are asking if you can pull your knife and wave it in someones face who is antagonizing but, not threatening you to avoid a possible physical conflict with them. That it?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!
Dude, that is besides being a total chicken **** thing to do, also totally illegal. Also in regards to your theory that it would deescalate the situation, the answer is again NO. If anything your just going to make the whole situation even worse. God forbid if you actually stuck or even cut the guy. NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

GregGry
December 17, 2008, 05:56 PM
Greg, you only responded to half of my intended meaning there. Obviously everyone, everywhere, knows that going into a fight with the deck stacked in your favor is better for you. I'm with you there.

The point I was trying to make was that using that as a defense for presenting or using lethal force in an otherwise non-lethal, non-grave bodily harm kind of situation would, in my most humble of opinions, not pass a judge/jury smell test.

That's what I was trying to say. Hope that clears it up.

I agree that if your defense is you took a knife out and stabbed someone because you didn't want to risk getting hurt at all, even through you had many better options, then yes you are going to be convicted.

The nature of police work (And survival in general) is that if you are met with force, the proper response is to meet that force 1 level higher then it. If they have their fists up, you draw your pepper spray/taser/baton, you don't put your dukes up. If they draw a knife, crowbar, bat, chain, etc you draw your firearm.

It seems to be a common theme here that by meeting force with an overriding force, you are in the wrong. That’s completely situation dependent, but I can tell you its a more inaccurate then accurate statement (depending on your state laws). If you are in the right (AKA you're not the one starting a bar fight when your drunk) and a person puts their dukes up like they are going to attack you, there is no reason that you can't meet that force with a overriding force. If all you have is your fists, a knife, and a firearm, drawing your firearm/knife and trying to keep distance could be a proper response. By drawing your weapon you are preparing to defend yourself since you have no idea whets going to happen. Pulling a firearm and shooting the person would be a incorrect response.

Lets again go back to the common theme of meeting force with an overriding force is wrong, and will lead to an escalation of force. If a person is threatening you, they are in the wrong. You counter their threats with force of your own, such as drawing a knife. They pull out a firearm, and then you pull out your firearm. You shoot them. Claims can be made all day that this would be avoidable had the threatened person not escalated the force. However think about it for a minute, who started this situation, and who was acting in self defense?

I can't account for states that might have completely obscene laws regarding how someone can defend themselves. I can however account for having to defend my actions in use of force cases. Its not hard to defend your actions when they are reasonable.

Okay, from what I'm getting you are asking if you can pull your knife and wave it in someone’s face who is antagonizing but, not threatening you to avoid a possible physical conflict with them. That it?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!
Dude, that is besides being a total chicken **** thing to do, also totally illegal. Also in regards to your theory that it would deescalate the situation, the answer is again NO. If anything your just going to make the whole situation even worse. God forbid if you actually stuck or even cut the guy. NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

If you pull a knife and wave it in a person’s face that did nothing other then call you a name, then you’re in the wrong. If you pull a knife and have it at the ready after a person for no apparent reason says they are going to kick your butt, and they have their fists up in a boxer stance, what you did is reasonable. The first person to raise the level of force present with no legal or reasonable reason to do so (Such as to show off, to scare someone that’s not threatening anyone, etc) is in the wrong. Most reactions to such a event will be able to be justified.

jad0110
December 18, 2008, 04:29 PM
Lets again go back to the common theme of meeting force with an overriding force is wrong, and will lead to an escalation of force. If a person is threatening you, they are in the wrong. You counter their threats with force of your own, such as drawing a knife.

As you said, it depends on the state. My post on the prior page basically is how it works in North Carolina for citizens. Threatening words are not enough in NC to even justify the deployment of a deadly weapon. Only threatening acts count in my state. So, if someone is threatening me with a butt whoopin' or death, I cannot draw until such threatening words become action - else it is likely that I would be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Again, that is North Carolina. Don't know about WI.

If you pull a knife and have it at the ready after a person for no apparent reason says they are going to kick your butt, and they have their fists up in a boxer stance, what you did is reasonable.

Reasonable to you and I perhaps, but maybe not in the eyes of the law, again depending on the state. In NC this example would be a sure fire way to wind up in prison. Assuming in this example you are facing one person, about the same age/size as you. Both of you are young and physically fit/able. He starts throwing punches. This isn't even enough for to draw a deadly weapon (knife or firearm) in NC. Basically, you must wait until you are taking such a beating that you are close to passing ... so I guess you could say you must wait until you are almost dead.

Now, if the same dude pulls a knife, then the dynamic has most certainly changed. Assuming he is in a position to attack with his knife, then drawing a deadly weapon and employing such force would most assuredly be justified. Or if disparity of force exists, things may well be different.

If this proves anything, it is that it is wise to run through such scenarios in your mind beforehand and "play it out". 'Cuz there probably won't be time to when it really happens.

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