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  • Writer's pictureMeason & Ramsey Law

What is Considered Self Defense in Oklahoma?

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

In Oklahoma, self defense cannot be defined as one simple act when it comes to legal reasoning. As a matter of fact, many situations that seem to be clearly an act of self defense are not considered to be as such when it comes to the law. Also, vice versa, there are situations that don’t appear to be defensive at first glance, but involve facts that exhibit the involved person was indeed acting in self-defense.

The taking of another human life is considered among the most serious of crimes, however, the state of Oklahoma recognizes that, in some cases, the use of lethal force is justified and even necessary for the protection of innocent lives.

When it comes to self-defense, the law in Oklahoma generally falls into two categories: deadly force and physical force. Deadly force is self-explanatory and is usually associated with acts that could result in death or serious injury, such as using a gun or a knife. Physical force is anything that isn’t deadly force, but could still cause bodily harm, like punching or kicking.

In general, self-defense is only allowed if the person being attacked reasonably believes they are in imminent danger of being seriously hurt or killed AND they don’t have any other way to escape the situation. Additionally, self-defense can only be used proportionately to the threat at hand. So, if someone is merely trying to punch you, you can’t shoot them in self-defense.

These general self-defense guidelines still apply even if the person attacking you is breaking the law. For example, if someone is trying to rob you and you reasonably believe they could seriously hurt or kill you, then you would be allowed to use self-defense, even if using self-defense results in the death of the attacker. When it comes to self-defense and the use of lethal force, there must be evidence that the person who used lethal force was in fear of imminent harm. Among other considerations, they must also show evidence that they were not the initial aggressor and only responded with the appropriate amount of defensive force necessary.

However, there are some situations where self-defense would not be allowed, even if the person attacking you is breaking the law. This includes situations where the person attacking is a police officer or someone who is lawfully detaining you (like a security guard). Additionally, self-defense can’t be used if you’re the one who started the fight or if you could have reasonably avoided the situation (like if you could have walked away but didn’t).

Overall, self-defense laws in Oklahoma can be complex and tricky to navigate. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to use self-defense, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the specific laws and how they apply to your situation.


Meason & Ramsey Law provides a professional experience for all our clients, helping them navigate their legal rights. Our focus is criminal law (felony and misdemeanors). We specialize in Criminal Law, Divorce and Family Law, Probate Law. We are currently accepting cases in Washington, Nowata and Osage counties. Meason & Ramsey Law has family lawyers, divorce lawyers, probate lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, DUI & DWI lawyers, co-counsel lawyers, family attorneys, divorce attorneys, probate attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, DUI & DWI attorneys and co-counsel attorneys. Marty Meason and Rodney D. Ramsey, Attorneys

Meason & Ramsey Law

515 Delaware Ave

Bartlesville, OK 74003


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