The story of a criminal defense case, starting with a dark and stormy night.... ************************ You heard the storm, but you slept through most of it. The next morning, you dress and go down for coffee and breakfast, and your spouse tells you that there is a large branch down in the side yard. Sho nuff. You finish your coffee, get the battery powered chain saw from the garage, and head out onto the driveway to go around the house with it. Fortunately, you see the two thugs before they stab you or smash your head. They demand your keys, your cell-phone, and your wallet. That's robbery. Property aside, you are imminent danger. If you hand over the stuff, you may then be cut up with your own saw. That's why robbery is classified as a crime against persons. It's a jungle out there. They continue to advance. You assume a defensive stance and turn on the saw (I saw that in a horror movie once). It works. They are deterred. They depart, on the double-quick. You are unhurt. You are shaken, not stirred. It was a clear case of self defense--at least, according to your story. Because of the demand and the disparity of numbers, you arguably have reason to believe that you were faced with an immediate threat of imminent, serious bodily harm, or even death. But their story will surely be different. "We asked him for directions, and he...". What should you do now (multiple choice)? Take care of the branch. Go inside and gather your wits. Be the first to call it in, and engage legal representation immediately. The correct answer is "3". You have threatened the use of deadly force on other humans. Your act was no doubt justified, but it is now up to you to be able to defeat any argument that it was not--to at least establish reasonable doubt about any accusation that you committed an unlawful act of violence. Postpone clearing the branch. Just one more thing: the field of view of the security camera, which does not have an audio channel, did not capture sufficient information to support your account of the incident. The video is ambiguous. There are no witnesses. This concludes the story portion of this post. Now, about that lawyer. *************** You do not want "someone from the phone book". You do not want the attorney who set up your trust, or the one who handled your daughter's divorce. You need a criminal defense lawyer. ....but not just any criminal defense lawyer. The defense team that just successfully defended the two yoots who were accused of holding up the Crispy Creme is not for you. Defending the self defense case differs markedly from the ordinary criminal defense case. In the latter, the attorney's task is to prevent the state from proving that his or her client did the deed. In a self defense case, the defendant must admit having done the deed. He must then present successfully the evidence and argument that shows that his act had been immediately necessary, reasonable, and lawful. The fictional basis for Barnaby Jones or Matlock is not equipped for this. It is a unique legal specialty. Even if the attorney has studied the legal theory of self defense law.... The problem is not just knowing self defense law. Andrew Branca's Law of Self Defense course is great for that, and in MAG-20, Massad Ayoob teaches far more on self defense law than is taught in law school. I do recommend them both, but what they do not teach are things like how quickly an act of violence can occur; reaction times, perception, and cognitive decision-making; why six or twelve quick shots can be more than reasonable; how quickly people can move--in all axes--and more. So, how should you choose your attorney? Watch the video. But first, remember these three critical things: You cannot talk yourself out of suspicion by speaking to the arriving officers, but you can talk yourself into it. Should any critical exculpatory evidence disappear at the scene, your goose may be cooked; say enough to prevent that. Don't say a thing to the media! Let your attorney do that. I've always considered chain saws to be dangerous. This a different angle. Here's the video; believe me, Mas knows what he's talking about: http://www.backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/selecting-an-attorney-for-a-self-defense-case/ Feel free to share.