Question: Can you use deadly force to protect yourself?
Answer: Yes, but there are requirements. See below
Self-defense is recognized by the Indiana Code as a legal justification for the commission of an otherwise illegal act. With respect to self-defense claims, Indiana law distinguishes force from deadly force, and provides in relevant part:
A person is justified in using reasonable force against any other person to protect the person … from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person:
(1) is justified in using deadly force; and
(2) does not have a duty to retreat;
if the person reasonably believes that that force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person or the commission of a forcible felony.
No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary. In addition, the amount of force used must have been reasonable and used only with the belief that such degree of force was necessary.
The Indiana courts have repeatedly stated that a defendant claiming self-defense must show three things: (1) he was in a place where he had a right to be; (2) he acted without fault; and (3) he had a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm. A reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm is undoubtedly required in a case involving deadly force.