Is it OK to Defend Another Person Who is in Imminent Danger?One may assume that if he or she can defend him or herself against a serious threat of physical harm or even death then he or she also can defend another person against a serious threat of physical harm or even death. For the most part, this is true. When someone takes it upon him or herself to defend another person, it is known as the “defense of others.” The “defense of others” often is known as the “cousin” of self defense. If someone in the State of California has been charged with a crime but acted in “defense other others,” the act may be found to have been justified by a court of law.

The “Defense of Others” is Similar to “Self Defense”
The law allows for “self defense” and the lawful “defense of others.” The laws governing “self defense” are similar to those governing the “defense of others.” Both involve the use of force to protect yourself or someone else when in imminent danger. To claim something was done in the “defense of others,” the defendant must have believed another person was in imminent danger of bodily harm or death. The defendant’s belief must have been a reasonable one, and the defendant must have used only as much force as a reasonable person would use to stop the threat. This means that a reasonable person, if in place of the defendant, would have believed the amount of force the defendant used was appropriate to halt the threat. To claim the “defense of others” some evidence should exist to support it.

The “Alter Ego Rule”
When considering the defense of the “defense of others,” it is important to note what is known as the “Alter Ego Rule.” According to the “Alter Ego Rule,” a defendant was allowed to use force under the reasonable belief that it was necessary to defend another person. When presenting the defense of the “defense of others” in court, it is a more beneficial defense when the defendant has a special relationship with the person who would have been the victim. That special relationship could include a parent and child or a husband and wife relationship, for example. In most jurisdictions it is not required that the defendant have any kind of relationship with the person who could have been hurt or killed, however, to claim “defense of others.”