Self-defense has been a long-recognized criminal defense in Missouri. Under existing law, those who hope to avail themselves of this defense have to show that their actions were reasonable in light of the circumstances. In other words, those who use self-defense have to successfully show that they reasonably believed that the force that they used was necessary to protect himself or herself.

However, those who raise self-defense have the burden of proving that they acted reasonably. This can be tough in some cases, which means that those who acted legally could end up being convicted if they are unable to adequately prove their defense.

Ongoing efforts to change the law

However, some legislators have made ongoing efforts to change the law in a way that would shift the burden to prosecutors. This means that there would be a presumption that someone acted reasonably in their self-defense, and the state would then be tasked with proving that the individual who acted in self-defense didn’t act reasonably. Several states have already passed a similar law, but the bill to change Missouri’s law was recently defeated. Opponents of the bill claimed that the law would have made it too hard for the police and prosecutors to stop and prosecute violent crime.

Why does this matter to you?

Even though there hasn’t been a change to Missouri’s self-defense law, it’s important to be aware of proposed changes in the law so that you know your options when it comes to building your criminal defense strategy. This is the only way to ensure that you’re building the strongest criminal defense possible. If you have questions about how to build your self-defense position, then you may want to discuss the circumstances of your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.