Keep It Simple
Video Transcript: What should I do after a self-defense incident? My name is Brian L. Jackson, an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Wirth Law Office, and I want to talk to you about some quick pointers on what to do if you ever get into a self-defense situation.
I want to specifically focus on a deadly force, self-defense situation, because there’s two different rules that apply under Oklahoma law, depending on whether you’re talking about deadly force or non-deadly force.
We’ll start by differentiating between the two. Deadly force is force that is capable of creating grievous bodily harm. That’s serious bodily harm, like dismemberment, life-threatening injuries, things like that, or that’s capable of actually killing a person.
Examples of deadly force would be like a knife thrust, obviously getting shot, getting hit with a baseball bat is usually considered deadly force, hit with a crowbar. Anything like that, like an edged weapon, a projectile weapon, a blunt instrument. That’s usually considered deadly force. You are allowed to use deadly force in a situation, where you are confronted with actual deadly force, or where there is an imminent threat of deadly force.
Now, if you are in a situation where you have employed deadly force, and I want to be clear about something too, it’s not simply like stabbing, shooting, use of the blood instrument. If you brandish a firearm at somebody, but don’t actually shoot it, that is also considered deadly force. Like for example, somebody pulls a knife on you to mug you for your wallet, you point your gun at them, that’s deadly force, whether you shoot them or not. You threatened them with deadly force, because the implication of pointing a gun at somebody is that I could shoot you.
The rule to understand about that is, first of all, if you get into a deadly force situation, nine times out of 10, your best bet is that immediately afterward you want to call law enforcement, get them on the scene. You want to be very, very careful when you call 911, exactly what you say. The thing to say is, “There’s been a shooting, there’s been a stabbing, I need assistance right now,” and then give them your location. You want to keep it as simple stupid as possible, as far as what you tell them, because you will be upset, your adrenaline’s going to be going and you are liable to make mistakes.
They could very well be good faith mistakes, but you could still jam you up later if it ends up in criminal court. Keep it simple. The old rule, KISS, keep it simple, stupid. There’s been a shooting, there’s been a stabbing, somebody was hit with a baseball bat and I need assistance right now. Send an ambulance, send police. That’s something you need to do. You want to be the one that calls the cops, especially if you’ve brandished your weapon.
Don’t let them be the one to call the cops or you’re going to more likely to have a problem. Now, once you are sure you’re safe and obviously you want to make sure you’re safe, then you do not want to have a weapon in your hand when the cops show up.
Make sure you put your weapon down and don’t be handling it, touching it, or otherwise do anything with it when the cops show up, because this is a serious safety threat. If they show up on an alleged shooting and they see you with a gun and somebody else on the ground with a hole in them, you are liable to get yourself shot. Don’t have it in your hand, if you can help it.
Another thing I would also say, whatever they tell you to do, comply with it. Again, keep your mouth shut. Don’t answer questions, don’t tell them anything at that point in time other than I’m going to exercise my right to remain silent at this time. I’d like a lawyer. You will probably get arrested, not guaranteed, but there’s a good chance of it. You’re still probably better off not to make a statement when you’re dealing with that on the spot, because the risk you run is that you say something that is mistaken and you jam yourself up.
A final thing to be aware of, don’t touch anything with the scene, if you can help it. You don’t want to disturb evidence, because again, that’s the kind of thing that could potentially come back and bite you later. Major points, be the one to call 911, shut your mouth, don’t volunteer any more information than what it takes to get emergency services on the scene.
Don’t have a weapon in your hand, if you can help it, and don’t make a statement to the cops on the scene. One thing you definitely do want to do… Oh, and don’t disturb evidence. One other thing you do want to do, is in that situation, you need a good lawyer. One place you can find a good criminal defense lawyer in Oklahoma is at makelaweasy.com.