Attention Good Samaritans: Be Careful Who You Save | Ohio

The following is a video transcript.

Today, I would like to talk to you about third-party defense.

Can you legally come to the aid of a third person (whether that be a stranger, family member, or friend) and use force or deadly force to protect that person in the State of Ohio?

The answer is “Yes.” You can come to the aid of a third party and defend them using force or deadly force if you believe they are in danger. Now, third-party defense does not come without certain pitfalls and dangers, so let’s talk about it a little bit.

The Two Levels of Force

First and foremost, there are two levels of force in Ohio that you can use to defend yourself.

The first is “physical force.” Those would be occasions where you are about to be punched, pushed, or encounter some other non-deadly force situation.

The other is “deadly force.” If you believe you are in danger of suffering a physical force attack, then you can use that amount of force necessary to defend yourself. The same goes if you feel you are in danger and you have a bona fide belief. In the State of Ohio, we need a bona fide belief that we are going to suffer death or great bodily harm before we can use deadly force. If you feel you are in one of those situations, then you can use deadly force.

Defending a Third Party

Now, if you perceive another person (a third party) is also in danger of suffering an attack, whether that be a physical attack or a deadly force attack, you can use those same amounts of force I just discussed to come to the aid of that third person.

Remember, with third-party defense situations, you are coming in without having all the facts. It is very easy to assess the danger right in front of you. If you are being attacked or robbed you can assess that danger fairly easily. When you are coming into a third-party defense situation, you may not have all the facts or you may be mistaken. You may be coming to the aid of a third party who happens to be the bad guy.

Just remember: in Ohio, you can come to the aid of a third person.

You can use that amount of force necessary to protect that person just as if it was you. But remember, if you are going to use force or deadly force, you want to take that extra few seconds to assess the situation and determine whether it is right for you to get involved.

If you have any further questions feel free to call U.S. LawShield. They will put you in contact with your Independent Program Attorney, and I would be happy to discuss it with you and answer any further questions.

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