Justifiable Homicide Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Justifiable Homicide, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Justifiable Homicide?

It refers to the murder or death of the person or a heavy bodily harm which has happened or performed without any criminal intent. It could have been due to lawful defense by the party of the lawsuit, or by the officer on duty in self -defense and maintaining law and order, out of order by the court.

History and Meaning of Justifiable Homicide

Justifiable Homicide is a term used in criminal law to describe a situation where the killing of one person by another is considered not to be a crime. The concept of Justifiable Homicide has existed throughout human history, with ancient societies recognizing that some killings were necessary and justified, such as in self-defense or to prevent harm to others.

In modern criminal law, Justifiable Homicide is usually allowed in situations where an individual has acted in self-defense or defense of others, or where a police officer has used reasonable force to protect themselves or others or to apprehend a suspect. However, it is important to note that the definition of Justifiable Homicide can vary by jurisdiction.

Examples of Justifiable Homicide

  • A person is being attacked by an armed assailant and uses deadly force to protect themselves. This would likely be considered Justifiable Homicide.
  • A police officer uses their firearm to stop a suspect who is threatening the lives of others. If the use of force was deemed reasonable under the circumstances, the officer's actions may be considered Justifiable Homicide.
  • A homeowner uses deadly force to stop an intruder who is actively breaking into their home and posing a threat to their safety. The killing may be deemed Justifiable Homicide if the homeowner can demonstrate that they reasonably believed the use of force was necessary to protect themselves or others.
  • A military member engages in combat and kills an enemy combatant. Although the killing would not be considered murder, it may not necessarily be classified as Justifiable Homicide under certain circumstances.

Legal Terms Similar to Justifiable Homicide

  • Self-defense: the use of reasonable force to protect oneself from harm.
  • Defense of others: the use of reasonable force to protect another person from harm.
  • Use of force: the use of physical or deadly force to respond to a threat or harm.