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

Discussion in 'Legal' started by newbie4help, Dec 13, 2008.

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  1. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    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?
     
  2. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    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.
     
  3. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    What loaded questions you ask!

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

    Loomis member

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    "brandish" is a legal term that I believe means to "illegally threaten with or display". I'm no lawyer though.
     
  5. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    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
     
  6. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    Of cours people can threaten with words. "I'm gonna get you" and balling up their fists, etc.
     
  7. SamG.

    SamG. Member

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    I believe that's still brandishing
     
  8. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    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?
     
  9. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    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.
     
  10. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    "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.
     
  11. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    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.
     
  12. SamG.

    SamG. Member

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    When they brandish a weapon
     
  13. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    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!
     
  14. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    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?
     
  15. scottgun

    scottgun Member

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    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.
     
  16. legaleagle_45

    legaleagle_45 Member

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    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.
     
  17. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    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?
     
  18. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    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.
     
  19. newbie4help

    newbie4help Member

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    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.
     
  20. deadin

    deadin Member

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    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.
     
  21. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    I dunno, why would anyone but a no-brain punk pull a weapon that he didn't intend to use?
     
  22. giddonah

    giddonah Member

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    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.
     
  23. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    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.
     
  24. Treo

    Treo member

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    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.
     
  25. legaleagle_45

    legaleagle_45 Member

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    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...
     
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