Attention Good Samaritans: Be Careful Who You Save | Missouri

The following is a video transcript.

Can you use force to protect another person in Missouri? Yes, but there are some common pitfalls I would like to address.

Deadly Force vs. Reasonable Force

The first and most common pitfall is being able to distinguish when you can use deadly force, and when you can only use reasonable force. The rule for deadly force is the same whether you are protecting yourself or someone else.

If you are in imminent danger of deadly force being used against you (or someone else), then you can use deadly force.

However, if you are only protecting property, whether it is your property or another person’s property, you can only use reasonable force. If you use deadly force protecting someone else’s property, you will probably go to prison.

Protecting a Third Party

If you see someone else in distress, how do you make that decision of whether or not you step in to help? That is a decision that only you can make. However, remember to be aware that if you try and help someone else and they are injured in the process, you could be held civilly liable for their injuries.

Also, if there is a law enforcement officer nearby or if police could reasonably handle the situation, you may want to consider letting the police handle the situation and avoid placing that liability on yourself.

There are risks that you take upon yourself when you choose to intervene and try and help another person. Be aware of the risks.

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