Giving up your rights by accident

If an officer approaches you after u just shot someone but they did not see the altercation, the officer starts an investigation that’s the what happened here,he does this to determine what charges he can level on you, you have the weapon in your hand the person at your feet,your response should be something like,respectfully officer I am requesting my attorney. Nothing more,nothing less,you are going to jail no matter what. If you say or admit to any involvement with the shot or injured person you give up all of your rights to an affirmative defense and have cut off sixty to ninety percent of your attorneys options depending on situation. Attorneys then have to operate from the position of you admitting guilt and they have a lot less to work with,because you already admitted your guilty,the only things after that is everybody’s opinion of if your thinking is in line with there’s. If you didn’t admit anything every detail must be proven which flips the inquiry from were you right to do what you did, to what details can be proven about the situation,and enough mistakes and legal questions can come up to keep you free and off of any hooks. It’s not about you at this point and your lawyer has all of your affirmative rights to work with,not just your defensive rights. Remember no matter what,the first thing you say when meeting and officer is l would like my lawyer. And possibly could you transport me now. Remember with you saying nothing they are in as investigation phase,in order to determine how to charge you. Depending on who charges you,experience etc you might not even go to court-(wouldn’t really count on that) be polite but keep your afirmative rights,and remember if you do not invoke immediately and refuse to answer questions or comply you could get charged with failing to obey a lawful command or order of a peace officer or law enforcement officer.
Final example officer comes you say you were attacked, person dies after attacking you,could you be in trouble maybe,why when the officer came upon you minutes after the shooting,you were not rendering aid to try and save your attackers life . Depends on your state, but in a lot of states that’s law. The gun fight isn’t over with bullets down range and on target,it’s over when someone comes and takes over giving aid. ,and you invoke your right to an attorney.


First, I’m not sure that having the gun in-hand when LEOs arrive is a good idea. I think that placing it under a foot or in the holster would be a better choice. I would also want to be the first call to 9-1-1 and plea that my life was in danger, which it would have to be, for me to put myself in that situation in the first place.
I would also give the first LEO responding my name and personal information, as well as the shortest description possible of what happened, witnesses, vehicle description, and any other weapons that may be in the area. Then it’s time to shut up and ask for my USCCA appointed attorney…


I’m sorry, @Dr_Richard, I’m not following what you’re saying here. I agree you should not say anything until your attorney is with you in most cases. If you’re injured and need medical attention, please let the officers know that. If evidence is being missed, you can point it out, for example “the person who attacked me threw the gun in that bush over there”.

I would hope no one ever bases their legal defense on the hopes for enough mistakes and legal questions. A lot of states are now required to prove that it wasn’t self-defense instead of you having to prove it was.

You do not have an obligation to render first aid, @Dr_Richard. If you’ve shot your attacker and the attacker is down and you are safe enough, you need to call the police as soon as possible. You’ll want to let them know you were attacked and in fear for your life and you need the police and an ambulance to your location.

You will also want to describe what you’re wearing so they know who they’re looking for when they get to you.

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Hey dawn,the overall point is that in incidents there are two sides to the law and your rights. A simple description that admits what happened eliminates one side of your rights, leaving you with what most people are told,ad defensive posture in court of examining you. If those simple admissions are not done,then you have the other side of your legal rights options.

Sadditionally from s leo perspective,the initidal contact is the investigation period,this period is where the officer determines,what to initially charge you with,even if you are in the right. Lots of examples but they are officer dependant some will some wont,all state involved shooting laws are a bit different so that is why I am being very general, the point is however if nothing can be determined by admission from u in an incident your lawyer has both sides of your rights to work with. Hope this clarifies,it really is about the legal side that is esasily missed


The issue is that in court self defense is an affirmative defense. If you punch someone and they get hurt your acknowledgement falls under the definition of assault,if your view is not accepted you have agreed to the court you are are saying your view justifies your action. The other aspect is that you now are the one who has to prove why you are guilty or not guilty.

The issue then comes back to the law and science of the use of force,conceptually you use the smallest amount of force required to resolve as situation

Officers doing an investigation have a duty also but the definition they have for use of force is slightly different from the wording in the law,so they become the ones to collect the folks at the scene this really goes to cadtegories of use of force. It is this place between the investigation and charging,officers domain and the court definitions of use of force that the issues come up,and your lawyer can really create a sasfe passage for you,if in your affirmative defense you have not put them in a position of I acknowledged something to someone that pigeon holed me to an affirmative defense based on my view,ass opposed to an affirmative defense based upon what the scene may prove. The difference is your view vs what the legal system view is and your being forced to justify vs the case being made,evidence examined and used to support the view your attorney presents to the court. It may be your view but words matter and how it is crafted in the law matters and that is where an unassuming admission during the investigation phase could hurt.

I also forget to mention in general the first part of a officers job is the investigationjudt talking etc that is in general his fact finding area to determine what he might charge which is the second part of his job. He doesn’t have to tell you what he’s doing he just does it in the most pleasant way possible usually,once he has investigated he may or may not discuss with others if they are on scene and then determine his take on charges. So the I want my attorney before any admission is very important. We do not know what he is looking at,how or what the dispatch call relayed to him,if he’s coming off another call that was just giving him grief etc he is human,but he could determine in his mind no aid was given,he sees areas of egress you didn’t see etc. I totally agree with helping and if you are a home owner the plain vanilla there has been a shooting etc and all of the saftey protocols no weapon in hand etc. But in addition to that while you are upset,do not accidentally pigeo hole yourself with an admission that makes your affirmative defense all about you

Just a word of advice. A solid wall of text is very hard to read. If you’d break that top part into about 3 separate paragraphs and double space between each it becomes eminently more easy and enjoyable to read.


I did a slight bit of editing here just to make it more readable and easy to respond do.

Atty’s will differ in advising you on what you should or shouldn’t say after a defensive shooting. That advice is going to differ somewhat depending on the atty and the jurisdiction.

Let me address this. You certainly do not give up your right to an affirmative defense by stating you had no choice but to fire because the perp/perp’s left you no other option and they were threatening your life.

Some atty’s will advise you to say nothing at all for 72hrs so that you have a chance to process the trauma and think your way through everything that happened.

I’ve consulted may atty’s on the subject over the years and asked them to explain why they are giving the advice they give.

Here is what I advise my own students.

If you already have a good atty seek their advice and get them to print you up a simple card you can refer to with a basic outline of their instructions.

If you do not have your own atty make up one of your own.

1)Be the first one to call in the incident if possible, give the dispatcher the following.

A) Your name and license number or address.

B) That there has been a self defense shooting and that you are the defender. If you have a carry permit, give the number.

C) The exact location as close as you can determine.

D) What you are wearing so you are easily identifiable when officers arrive.

E) Give them your phone number and request that responding officers are given it and that they call you so you can speak one on one with them to avoid any misunderstandings for their safety and yours.

If at all possible call the USCCA emergency number immediately after hanging up with dispatch, if not try to contact them before police arrive or as quickly otherwise as circumstances allow.

  1. If possible clear and put your weapon away. IF it can safely be done put it somewhere it can easily be seen more than 2 arms length away from your body and have nothing in your hands other than the phone when police arrive.

  2. Follow all commands to the letter. Even with all the information you have given them to this point it’s still a shooting and they will respond with weapons drawn and running high on adrenaline.

  3. Last, Tell them you want to cooperate fully as soon as you have consulted with your atty.

To your last statement:

Final example officer comes you say you were attacked, person dies after attacking you,could you be in trouble maybe,why when the officer came upon you minutes after the shooting,you were not rendering aid to try and save your attackers life . Depends on your state, but in a lot of states that’s law. The gun fight isn’t over with bullets down range and on target,it’s over when someone comes and takes over giving aid. ,and you invoke your right to an attorney.

You are under no obligation to render aid under any circumstances to someone you have shot lawfully in self defense in any US jurisdiction I know of unless you have sworn an oath to do so.

While you cannot be held liable for failing to render aid in such a circumstance if you do act you can be found both civilly and criminally liable if your life saving actions, no matter how well meaning caused harm or death. Your actions can and will also closely be examined to see if your efforts could have been intended to corrupt or destroy physical evidence.

My advice on this? Let your own conscience be your guide taking into account the potential liabilities. You can get in just as much trouble trying to save a life as you can using deadly force to stop an attack.

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No, the standard is whether or not a reasonable person under the same circumstances would also use the same force.

We’re not trying to beat a charge for committing a crime here, we’re hopefully all only acting in lawful self defense. To make a successful case for self defense you have to first admit that you are the one who used the force in the first place.

In a few juridictions it’s up to you to establish that the force used was reasonable under the circumstances, in most it would be up to the prosecution to prove that it wasn’t.

In more and more states as long as the investigation supports your claim of self defense you won’t even be indicted.

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A lot of states have good Samaritan laws that protect people from prosecution when they’re rendering first aid.

I think the bigger concern is the second part of that paragraph - which is a great point to consider and one we don’t always think about in the heat of the moment. Could your actions be seen as trying to destroy evidence or to cause further injury or death to the attacker?

Ask for an ambulance when you call 911. Be alert for other possible attackers and keep yourself as safe as possible. Cooperate with the police when they arrive on scene - follow their directions. Ask for your attorney.

I wouldn’t worry about the number at that point, they’ll be able to get it from you on the scene. It’s one less thing to trip over/worry about in the aftermath of a very traumatic event.

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If you shoot to defend yourself are you going to deny the shot when being questioned? No, you’re not because you did have to shoot to defend yourself when you were in imminent, unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.

Remember, the police do not charge you. That’s the District Attorney’s job. The police can arrest you without charging you.


Good Sam laws only apply to helping people in an accident. If you shot someone intentionally they do not apply in any state I’m aware of.

Definitely call in a shooting ASAP and as part of the basic info you give to the dispatcher tell them you have a gunshot victim in need of immediate EMS for sure.

I highly suggest keeping a list on the back of your USCCA membership card detailing out the minimums you should give to the dispatcher because it should be among the very first things you grab when the smoke clears.

First call to Dispatch, next to USSCCA requesting to speak with an Atty.

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Good Samaritan laws are not just for accidents, @Wildrose. They apply to emergency situations in a lot of states - here are two examples:

Wisconsin law states an accident or emergency.


In California it applies to all emergencies - accidents aren’t specifically stated:


Self-defense is a pretty good example of an emergency situation, IMO. I’m guessing that first aid help at the site of a mass shooting would be covered as well.

That being said, I would request an ambulance when I called or had someone else call 911 after a self-defense incident. There are too many variables that could continue to threaten my safety at the scene of said incident.

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You’ll have to look for some case law to support that you’re protected if you shot someone before I’ll be convinced.

I’ve discussed this with atty’s all over the country and they’ve always said the same thing. That you have no duty to render aid and that you may be opening yourself up to serious criminal and civil liability if you were the shooter.

It’s a question that comes up in nearly every class I’ve attended or taught so it’s something I’ve delved into pretty deeply.

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From your own citation.

This subdivision applies only to the medical, law enforcement, and emergency personnel specified in this chapter.

That would not include any of us involved in a self defense shooting.

Sorry, I didn’t include the whole picture:

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And that would not preclude you or I as the shooter from being charged criminally or sued civilly for trying to “help” someone we shot.

All it takes is for one person to claim you were trying to smother someone rather than doing chest compression, or that you were choking them instead of doing the head tilt, or for someone to accuse you of planting a weapon on the person under the guise of trying to provide first aid and you have opened yourself up to tremendous civil and criminal liability.

Good Sam laws only protect you from making a mistake while providing aid, they are not a shield against liability.

Feel free to put this out to one of our program atty’s to comment if you like.

You may well bet it in court but you have just complicated your attorney’s job by orders of magnitude and driven up the cost of your defense astronomically.