The Aftermath: Tow Truck Operator on the Hook

Utahs Version of stand your ground.

(4) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(a)(iii):

(a) an individual does not have a duty to retreat from the force or threatened force described in Subsection (2) in a place where that individual has lawfully entered or remained; and

(b) the failure of an individual to retreat under the provisions of Subsection (4)(a) is not a relevant factor in determining whether the individual who used or threatened force acted reasonably.

I’m not a lawyer of course, but seems to then circle back to:

“An individual is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the individual reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the individual or another individual as a result of imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”



  1. (a) An individual is not justified in using force under the circumstances specified in Subsection (2) if the individual:

(i) initially provokes the use of force against another individual with the intent to use force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the other individual;

(ii) is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a felony , unless the use of force is a reasonable response to factors unrelated to the commission, attempted commission, or fleeing after the commission of that felony ; or

(iii) was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement, unless the individual withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other individual the intent to withdraw from the encounter and, notwithstanding, the other individual continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful force.

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The way I understand it is that self-defense or the defense of others is a “door” that opens and closes as the encounter is taking place. And this door is only open when these 3 conditions are true.

  1. The aggressor has to have the ability to cause death or serious bodily harm to the victim.
  2. He also has to have the opportunity to do so.
  3. But the threat has to be imminent

An aggressor with a machete in hand, in your vicinity, has both ability and opportunity, but the threat would not be imminent unless he was lunging at you from a particular distance. If he’s across a football field that is not imminent. If he’s across your living room, that is imminent.

In this tow truck case the “imminent” part was probably not fulfilled. Without seeing the video, it is hard to determine. I imagine that is why this guy is being charged.

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. We want to be able to defend, not exact vengeance/retribution.


My immediate feelings are that the firing of the weapon was not necessary, being that the perp was no longer in his vehicle nor hopefully displaying a weapon or hostile intent. Not knowing what the situation was after he got out of the vehicle, i.e., a weapon in hand or else, I would have attempted to hold the perp at bay with the weapon without shooting him, especially if he stopped in his tracks after seeinng my weapon drawn. I can just hear a lawyer from the other side coming up with the notion that the man realized his stupidity and exited with what could have been an attempt to render aid. My hastiness to fire, was in error. These days some people are too dang hyped to pull the trigger rather than to evade/escape the situation. No stuff is too important than taking a life, financially bankrupting yourself, or pending ANYTIME in the Pokey. Making your point of standing your ground… may not always work out. However, if the perp showed a weapon, then I’d use mine defensive weapon to stop the perceived additional bodily harm advancement. Just Saying,…

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