– from Kathleen U. in Hartford, WI

Question Details:

I was recently scared to death when throwing garbage into a dumpster at my apartment complex. I took the garbage to the dumpster to toss it in, and someone was rummaging through the garbage. He grabbed my arm and told me to give him my money. I pushed him off and ran back to my apartment and locked the door. I called the guard shack, and they took care of it from there. I am thinking about getting mace, but I was told if I use mace to defend myself I could be arrested. Is this true?

Criminal Defense Attorney Response:

The answer to this question is situational.

Self defense laws state the person using self defense can not use what clearly exceeds a reasonable level of defense.

In the instance you described above mace would probably be on the border of what is reasonable and what is not reasonable. The only reason for this is you were able to escape harm without mace.

The charge will depend on how the officers who analyze the case interpret your actions.

To give a more clear picture if you were being accosted by and individual with a broom stick and you used a gun to shoot and kill the accoster you will likely be charged with a crime.

Being charged with a crime is one thing being convicted of another is something completely different. If you are working with an experienced criminal lawyer in both of the above cases depending on the circumstances of the incidents it would be a case we could aggressively fight in court.

Hope this helps.

As another note, if you get assaulted by another person on your apartment complex you may have a case of negligence against the apartment complex, especially if they do not work to improve security measures to keep tenants safe.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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