Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house you go! It’s winter and the first snow has turned into a blizzard. You were looking forward to these most honored traditions, the bright lights and sounds and smells of the holidays. Such a wonderful day is in store!
Suddenly you hear a terrible noise and feel a thud. You realize that you are in the middle of nowhere and you have a flat tire, four screaming kids and a wife who promises to wash your mouth out with soap if you say one more unkind word.
To top it off, the last curve that you took at a very high rate of speed propelled the coveted pecan pie out of the window, and now you see the local K-9’s enjoying the only dish you were asked to bring. You dropped the only cell phone you had in the snow as you were trying to find that spare tire that you never replaced since the last time you needed it. Now some very unsavory pedestrians, none of who look like the kind that will lend a hand other than to assault you, are approaching you.
You notice that you are outnumbered and your wife is still threatening with the soap. You have presents very nicely wrapped in the back of this grocery-getter, all in plain view, and oh yes, your daughter who thinks she knows one of them strikes up a conversation and offers up her little brother in trade for her safety…mind you, I said her safety.
What to do, you might ask? Your wife has locked you out and there you stand, tire tool in one hand and nothing but that golden, circular reminder on your other that has kept you guessing why you said yes to begin with and didn’t run from the alter screaming 17 years ago. (That is advice I will give at another time, so stay tuned.) Back to the story.
So you are torn between fight or flight. These are serious decisions, decisions that must be made many times in the “twinkling of an eye.” Do you defend your property and family, or do you demand your wife open the door and let you in so you can speed away to safety. But you have a flat tire and your daughter is now under a tree still trying to negotiate her safety. So…you choose to STAND YOUR GROUND!
In South Carolina you have the right to defend yourself, to defend others; and, in some cases, even defend property. There are certain criteria that must be met and articulated to the police or even the court to show you met that threshold. Fearing for your life, your safety and the lives and safety of others around you at the time of the threatened assault are some of the reasons that you may stand your ground. You may use the force that is necessary to stop the threat, even deadly force. I tell folks to use their common sense. If you can flee without the chance of injury, this is a reasonable consideration. Don’t stand your ground and raise the defense as an excuse to hurt someone, just because you can. Courts are much smarter than that and it may cost you more than you realize.
The police and ambulances have come and gone from the scene and so has the time for that visit with grandmother, but there is always next year. You realize that you may need an attorney to discuss this matter. Please feel free to call me about these issues and any others that may arise this holiday season. I am here to help!
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