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New Jersey Criminal Attorneys Discuss Self-Defense Shooting

January 7, 2013 | Posted In Criminal Law - Self-Defense

A New Jersey man is pleading self-defense after shooting a female friend on the night of his 25th birthday party. Giuseppe “Joseph” Tedesco shot Alyssa Ruggieri, 22, six times at her home in March 2010. New Jersey criminal attorneys say that Ruggieri had refused to attend Tedesco’s birthday celebrations that night, sparking a violent argument that ended with Ruggieri’s death.

Tedesco, who suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the hand at the time, claims that the shooting was a measure to protect himself from Ruggieri. He used his own weapon, a .25 Beretta handgun that he had purchased months earlier for protection after witnessing a murder. His New Jersey criminal attorneys contend that the testimony presented at trial will prove that Tedesco’s altercation with Ruggieri was life-threatening, prompting his response. Tedesco’s NJ criminal lawyers will have to prove that the use of a gun was equivalent to the force with which Tedesco had been attacked, and that he shot Ruggieri only to defend himself, not to kill her. While there were no witnesses to the shooting, his NJ criminal lawyers will draw on testimony from friends and family, as well as those who could testify about the relationship between Tedesco and Ruggieri. If a history of violence is uncovered, Tedesco may be protected under New Jersey self-defense laws.

Persons who defend themselves against unlawful force have protection under the New Jersey criminal code, which states that such “use of force… is justifiable when the actor reasonably believes…such force is immediately necessary.” Protection by self-defense is legitimate when the unlawful force or attack is reasonably anticipated or imminently present. Persons who use deadly force to defend themselves against imminent bodily harm are also protected by the code, so long as the force used by the defender is not “significantly greater” than the force with which he is attacked. But if the person attacked has an opportunity to retreat, he has a “civil duty” to do so. Responding with deadly force can be charged as a criminal act, because it was not the only option left to the defender.

Using deadly force as a means of self-defense can result in unforeseen consequences such as criminal charges and jail time. The New Jersey criminal lawyers at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman defend those who are facing criminal charges for acts of self-defense.

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