Georgia self-defense law made simple

Download our free, easy-to-follow guide to self-defense and the use of deadly force in Georgia.

Believe it or not, events like these happen to real people every day.

Even in a state with an established Castle Doctrine like Georgia, justified self-defense can leave innocent men and women trapped in lawsuits or bankrupted by legal fees, and even a small mistake in the aftermath of a shooting can send you to prison.

That’s why gun owners need U.S. LawShield. As a member, you’ll have access to a 24/7/365 emergency hotline answered by your local Independent Program Attorney, who will represent you in both criminal and civil court for any charges related to self-defense. You’ll also have access to world-class education to help you stay legal.

Memberships start at just $10.95 per month, and we’ll never charge you additional attorneys’ fees. With U.S. LawShield, you’ll have the resources you need to survive the aftermath.


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Any of the material in this presentation is solely for the purpose of a general legal discussion and should not be considered as giving legal advice, nor creating an attorney-client relationship. This material is not a substitute for legal advice on any particular situation. Your situation may be different, so contact an attorney regarding your personal circumstances. Only a licensed attorney may give you legal advice.

“You shot me!”

The disbelief in the intruder’s voice is surprising. Of course you did (you think to yourself). He’s the one that broke into your home and terrified your daughter after finding her in the kitchen.

The criminal is bleeding profusely from the shot you fired. He drops the combat knife he was carrying and staggers, unsteady on his feet. In one hand, you hold your gun. In the other hand, you have your cell phone.

What do you do?


Call 911 Shoot the Intruder Again

Voluntary Manslaughter.

That was the charge filed against you. In court, your lawyer argued that you’d failed to realize the intruder was unarmed when you fired the second shot—you believed your daughter was still in danger—but to your horror, the jury disagreed.

You solemnly walk down the hallway. Loud jeers come from the men in the cells around you. You numbly follow the prison guard into your own cell. The bars close you in and your world ends as you know it.


That could have gone better…

The responding officers cuff you and walk you outside, where another police car is parked in the street. The EMTs are moving the injured home intruder into their ambulance.

“Okay, let’s hear your side of the story,” one of the officers says, flipping open a notebook. “What happened here?”


Calmly explain to the officer what happened with the intruder and why you shot him Demand to be released from the handcuffs Insist on speaking to an attorney and tell the officer you invoke your right to remain silent

Your response wasn’t that calm…

After the shock of the home invasion and the sight of the wounded criminal, you aren’t thinking clearly. When the officer asks if you believed the criminal intended to harm you or your family, the combination of stress and lingering shock drives your response. “I don’t know,” you say.

“Well now, this could be a problem,” the officer says. “Based on what you just told me, you’re going to have to come with us.”

In hindsight, you definitely should have stayed quiet….


Claim that the intruder was yelling death threats. A little white lie won’t hurt… It’s time to lawyer up

When the police interview your neighbors, they quickly uncover your lie. Someone next door heard the break-in, heard your panicked warning and gunshot, but didn’t hear any yelled threats from the criminal.

To your horror, you’re charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer and voluntary manslaughter and are sentenced to prison.

You solemnly walk down the hallway. Loud jeers come from the men in the cells around you. You numbly follow the guard into your own cell. The bars close you in and your world ends as you know it.


That could have gone better…

You blink wearily. All you wanted to do was make sure the rest of your family was okay. Not end up at the station in an interrogation room. You tug your wrists futilely, trying to get comfortable.

A tired-looking detective sits across from you.

“I’ve got questions for you. Let’s begin.”


Explain your side of the story Exercise your rights

After the shock of the home invasion and the sight of the wounded criminal, you aren’t thinking clearly. When the detective asks if you believed that the criminal intended to harm you or your family, the combination of stress and lingering shock drives your response. “I don’t know,” you say.

“Well now, this could be a problem,” the detective says. “Based on what you just told me, you’re going to have to stay here.”

In hindsight, you definitely should have stayed quiet…


Claim that the intruder was yelling death threats. A little white lie won’t hurt… It’s time to lawyer up

Days have passed… or has it only been a few hours? What can you do to get out of this interrogation room? Say something? Say something else? The door creaks open.

“Don’t say anything. Leave the talking to me,” your lawyer reminds you as the police officers sit down across the table from you.

One of the detectives gives you a tired smile. “This looks like a cut-and-dry case of self-defense. Just tell us what happened in your own words, and we’ll get someone to drive you home…”


Answer the officers’ questions. Cooperating will show that you have nothing to hide. Say nothing. Your lawyer knows what she’s doing.

Against your lawyer’s advice, you answer the detective’s questions.

Hours later, you find yourself speculating that the criminal may have been the same person who, a few weeks ago, rear-ended you in traffic and then sped away without exchanging insurance information. Your lawyer looks extremely uncomfortable with this line of questioning.


That could come back to haunt you…

With your lawyer’s help, the detective tells you it’s an open-and-shut self-defense case, and you did nothing wrong. You’re headed home for a much-needed shower and rest. Soon afterward, you get word that the home invader passed away in the hospital.

Weeks pass, and you try and put that horrible night behind you. One day, however, you receive a legal summons; the family of the criminal has filed a civil suit against you!

Apparently, the nightmare isn’t quite over.


This could drag on for years. Better to seek a quick settlement. You’ve done nothing wrong. Contest the suit in court.

It really is unbelievable. Why should you have to pay this woman money because her husband broke into your home?!

At least with the emptying of your savings account, you can finally put the disaster behind you.


That could have gone better…

“He knew my husband! He didn’t deserve to die!” The tear-stricken intruder’s wife says from the witness stand. “They even had a fight over a traffic accident a few weeks before he got shot!”

In Georgia, a certain degree of immunity from civil suits is granted to those who have acted in justified self-defense, but invoking this “immunity” requires you to put forth the immunity defense in court and show you were justified in using deadly force. The jury will decide whether your use of deadly force was lawful.

The widow’s argument is simple: her husband dropped his knife and surrendered the moment he saw you, but you shot him anyway over anger at the hit-and-run. You know it’s not true, but hearing her anguished pleas to the jury, you almost believe her yourself.


Deny the intruder was involved in the accident, even though you’re pretty sure he was. Tell the truth.

Unfortunately, contradicting your statement to the police doesn’t go over well with the jury.

When all is said and done, you owe the widow your entire life savings, and owe the state a potentially enormous fine and maybe even time in prison for your perjury.


That could have gone better…

The jury deliberates for an agonizingly long time. When they return, you listen with growing incredulity as they declare that, by a preponderance of the evidence, your use of force was unjustified.

When all is said and done, you owe the widow your entire life savings. You’re in shock; all you did was defend your family.


That could have gone better…

“My husband would never hurt anyone! He didn’t deserve to die!” The tear-stricken intruder’s wife says from the witness’ stand.

In Georgia, a certain degree of immunity from civil suits is granted to those who have acted in justified self-defense, but invoking this “immunity” requires you to put forth the immunity defense in court and show you were justified in using deadly force. The jury will decide whether your use of deadly force was lawful.

The widow’s argument is simple: her husband dropped his knife and surrendered the moment he saw you, but you shot him anyway. You know it’s not true, but hearing her anguished pleas to the jury, it’s clear that she believes it.


Claim, falsely, that he tried to stab your daughter. Tell the truth.

Your daughter can’t look at you as she takes the stand and contradicts your testimony. You taught her honesty, and now you’ve taught her that even parents can disappoint you.

When all is said and done, you owe the widow your entire life savings, and owe the state a potentially enormous fine and maybe even time in prison for your perjury.


That could have gone better…

The jury returns with their verdict: your use of force was justified, rendering you immune from civil liability. You’ve won!

Your relief is tempered somewhat when you see the bill for your attorney. Your finances are going to take a painful hit, but at least you’ve made it through the worst.

That went about as well as it could have… but how would it have played out for a member of U.S. LawShield?

“My husband would never hurt anyone! He didn’t deserve to die!” The tear-stricken intruder’s wife says from the witness’ stand.

In Georgia, a certain degree of immunity from civil suits is granted to those who have acted in justified self-defense, but invoking this “immunity” requires you to put forth the immunity defense in court and show you were justified in using deadly force. The jury will decide whether your use of deadly force was lawful.

The widow’s argument is simple: her husband dropped his knife and surrendered the moment he saw you, but you shot him anyway.

When the time comes for you to testify, the prosecutor’s first question is like a punch to the gut. “When you were asked by the police if you believed that the gentleman in your kitchen intended to harm you or your family,” he says, “how did you respond?”


Admit that you expressed uncertainty due to stress. Claim, falsely, that you told the police that the criminal was trying to kill you.

Unfortunately, the testimony of the officer who questioned you contradicts your own testimony, which doesn’t go over well with the jury.

When all is said and done, you owe the widow your entire life savings, and owe the state a potentially enormous fine and maybe even time in prison for your perjury.


That could have gone better…