What Happens if You Shoot Someone in Self-Defense?

what happens if you shoot someone in self-defense


So some unlucky bastard decided that he was going to break into your house or try to do you harm outside of your house.  You unfortunately had to use your conceal carry weapon to defend yourself.  Your adrenaline is rushing and your body is shaking as you wait for what happens next.  You are now wondering what happens if you shoot someone in self-defense.

It is very important as a CCW owner to understand your rights and laws concerning self-defense shootings.  In most states classes for conceal carry permits cover these important topics.  If not then this will be helpful for you if the time ever comes.

THIS POST ISN’T MEANT TO PROVIDE YOU WITH LEGAL ADVICE.  If you are looking for legal advice then I would highly recommend contacting a lawyer or signing up for the United States Concealed Carry Association.

It is extremely important to understand the chain of events that will happen after you decide to defend yourself using your concealed carry weapon.  This will be an extremely emotional and stressful situation.  Things will get confusing really fast.

It is important to understand what happens if you shoot someone in self-defense now so that it limits the confusion and stress later.  We will outline the events to follow.  Despite much criticism, law enforcement and the judicial system adhere closely to an extremely structured procedure.

What happens if you shoot someone in self-defense?

Police arrive on the scene

When officers arrive on the scene of the shooting they have the responsibility to secure and deescalate the situation.  They’re there to lock down the scene.  So you don’t want to be moving evidence around.  You should already have your weapon secured on the ground before they arrive.

They will be collecting evidence which includes your firearm.  So don’t flip your lid when they secure it.  Officers will also be collecting witness accounts.  They are not there to make friends or console you.  They are simply there to gather evidence and information.

You will be detained and most likely taken to a station as part of the investigation.  AGAIN DON’T SPAZZ OUT!  You will want to immediately invoke your right to remain silent and contact your lawyer.  If you can’t afford to have a lawyer on retainer then I would highly recommend signing up with USCCA so that they can represent you.  Despite how knowledgeable you may be or innocent you may be you need to have legal representation who has been trained and knowledgeable with gun law.

Invoking your right to remain silent doesn’t make you guilty but makes you smart.  Having a lawyer doesn’t imply that you are guilty either.  It means that you are responsible.  This part of the process will be the fastest although waiting in the investigation room will feel like an eternity.


Investigators will now be reviewing the information collected by officers at the shooting scene.  They will also be drilling you with questions.  Don’t be shocked if you are treated like a criminal.  From there they will determine if charges will be issued or if you can be released.

If charges are dropped then you won’t have to face criminal court.  However, they doesn’t mean that you will be free from civil court.  The criminal’s family or bystanders who were effected can choose to sue you.  Again USCCA will be able to assist you in this matter.

Prosecutor determination

If charges are pressed against you then you will be placed in jail until bail can be posted.  From there the prosecutor will decide if they agree with the charges from the investigators.  They can decide to drop the charges, agree with them or add additional charges.


If the charges are not dropped then you will be transported to county to attend arraignment.  From there the judge will formally read your rights and charges being pressed against you.  Then you will enter your plea and the judge will determine if you are eligible for bail.

This will be the slowest and toughest part of the process.  Your lawyer will be working a case to prove your innocence while the state will be attempting to do the opposite.  This process will begin with discovery where you and witnesses can be questioned to gather additional clarifying information.

Next you will have pre-trial where a few things could happen.  The state could formally announce their dropping of the charges.  They could also approach your legal representation with a possible plea agreement.  If not then the state will announce what kind of sentence they will be requesting if you lose the case.

From there the actual trial will be scheduled.  This is where your representation and the state will be proving their case in front of a jury.  At the end you will either be found guilty or innocent.

This is just a brief overview of what happens if you shoot someone in self-defense.  There is definitely more detailed information to consider which you should discuss with legal representation.  Ultimately you will want to get guidance from your lawyer to get a full understanding of the process.  USCCA provides a knowledgeable staff extremely familiar with gun law backed by tons of experience.  You can read a review that posted earlier to get a better understanding of what is provided.


Photography by Patrick


what happens if you shoot someone in self-defense