“Help! Rape!” Using Deadly Force to Defend a Third Party – Colorado

Sexual assault stories have dominated the news recently, and we have received many questions about defending others against sexual assault and rape. We reached out to Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards to get the answers to your legal questions on defending a third party against rape and sexual assault.

Doug Richards: Doug Richards here for U.S. LawShield of Colorado coming to you from our beautiful Denver office. Wanted to share a question that we recently received with you, and that is whether you can use force or deadly force to defend a third party you saw being sexually assaulted. I know it is a very difficult thing to imagine, but this question is not just limited to that fact scenario.

It really is more expansive than that because the Colorado Revised Statutes has an affirmative defense called Defense of Others or Defense of a Third Party. And what that does is it allows you to stand in that person’s shoes, the victim’s shoes, and if they could use force or deadly force to protect themselves. Then you witnessing this crime could use force or deadly force to protect them. Now, obviously it all fits in this reasonableness standard that the Colorado Revised Statute requires and demands. So you have to make sure you understand the limits to the amount of force you’re allowed to use under the specific circumstances you’re facing that day.

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4 comments on ““Help! Rape!” Using Deadly Force to Defend a Third Party – Colorado

  1. Doug, please expand your discussion to include a description of the “limits of deadly force allowed” as defined in Colorado Statutes. Telling me I need to know this, and not taking a minute to tell me what I need to know is not helping me. So please explain.

    • Thanks for your comment, Mike. That topic takes quite a bit of time to cover effectively. We’d love to have you at one of our seminars. Find one near you today at http://www.gunlawseminar.com/calendar/?st=co

      • I’ve been to two sponsored seminars. Maybe I’m not connecting the dots, but could you give us the “readers digest” version? A bullet list? Something to cue my memory? Thanks for all you do.

        • There are general limits on the use of deadly force that apply to defense of persons. A few such “limits” under Colorado law include: (1) One must act reasonably in using deadly force; and (2) a lesser degree of force must be inadequate under the circumstances. Hopefully that ties back to the seminar topics you’ve seen. Remember, members can call member services during regular business hours and get non-emergency answers to questions about weapons and self defense law from an attorney licensed in your state.

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