Firearm Self Defense Cases


Damon Rogers and Andy Beltran are experienced criminal and civil attorneys that have been selected to the USCCA’s Critical Response Team. As CRT attorneys, Damon and Andy have been called at all times of the day to respond to USCCA members’ self-defense emergencies. These emergencies mostly involve the use of a firearm in self-defense but not always.

As self-defense attorneys, Damon and Andy have successfully represented various USCCA members after they have been involved in self-defense incidents. Many of those cases have resulted in prosecutors dismissing the cases or prevented them from filing the case altogether after Damon and Andy presented evidence to support self-defense.

What You Should Do If You Are Involved In A Self Defense Incident

  1. Seek safety – If you are forced to defend yourself with a firearm, try to get to a safe area as soon as possible.
  2. Call 9-11 – Once you are in a safe area, call 9-11 and report that “someone has been shot” and request an ambulance if it is needed. It is okay to tell them your location, your description, and description of others involved. If asked to explain what happened, simply state that you were in fear of your life and that someone has been shot.
  3. Do NOT make any statements – When officers arrive, expect to be detained and possibly arrested. When they ask you what happened, tell them, “I will cooperate with you 100% but I will not make any statements without my attorney being present.”

The Right To Self Defense

In California, you are not required to retreat when threatened by an attacker. You are entitled to stand your ground and to defend yourself. That is true even if you could have retreated to safety without defending yourself.

Legal Information

If you are charged with a crime arising from a self-defense incident, prosecutors have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not act in lawful self-defense or in defense of another. If the prosecutor does not meet their burden, then the jury must find you not guilty.
What is lawful self-defense? To be lawful self-defense, the defendant:
  1. Must have reasonably believed that he/she or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or death;
  2. The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against the danger. AND
  3. The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the danger.

(See California Criminal Jury Instruction No. 3470.)

For a case

When considering whether your beliefs were reasonable, a jury would be required to consider all the circumstances as they were known to you and appeared to you when the danger existed. The jury would then be required to consider whether a reasonable person in a similar situation with similar knowledge would have had the same beliefs. If your belief was reasonable, then the danger does not need to have actually existed. This means that if you reasonably believed that the attacker had a gun, but did not, you can still be found to have used lawful self-defense if the jury finds that your belief was reasonable and that you acted upon that reasonable belief.

The third prong very often turns a good shoot into a bad one. If a jury finds that you used more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the danger, then a jury can find that you did not act in lawful self-defense. For example, if you pulled out your firearm after a mugger approached you and demanded that you give him your wallet, then the mugger turns his back and begins to run away, and you shoot him anyway; this could be seen as an unlawful act. In such a scenario, although you may have reasonably acted in self-defense when you initially pulled out your gun, a jury can still find that you used more force than was reasonably necessary when you shot the mugger in the back because the danger was over by then.


Situations may arise when you need to defend yourself, and we are here to help represent you through the legal process that follows. If we had to make only one recommendation it would be not to make any statements without your attorney being present. The statements that you make will be used against you to disprove the reasonableness of your self-defense actions. It is best to have your attorney make the arguments for you at the appropriate time.

If you or someone you know is involved in a self-defense incident, do not hesitate to contact us.