defense of others

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Defense of others” is a defense to liability for an alleged crime that is in defense of a person other than oneself. It refers to a person’s right to use reasonable force to protect a third party from another person who threatens to use force on the third party. Some jurisdictions require that the person has a special relationship with the third party as a condition of using “defense of others”, such as a parental relationship or a marital relationship. However, most jurisdictions do not require a special relationship, just require the reasonable belief that it was necessary to defend the third party.

[Last updated in September of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]