General Provisions

ORS 161.209
Use of physical force in defense of a person

Except as provided in ORS 161.215 (Limitations on use of physical force in defense of a person) and 161.219 (Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person), a person is justified in using physical force upon another person for self-defense or to defend a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force, and the person may use a degree of force which the person reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. [1971 c.743 §22]

Notes of Decisions

This section is not inconsistent with ORS 161.260, prohibiting use of physical force in resisting arrest, and rule is that person is not justified in forcibly resisting unless and until he is faced with illegal use by officer of deadly force. State v. Hall, 36 Or App 133, 583 P2d 587 (1978)

In prosecution for menacing, under evidence, inter alia, that defendant knew of earlier confrontation, that defendant had been past victim of vandalism, that juveniles had driven by house and sped away three times before parking in driveway, defendant was entitled to instruction on theory that he acted in self-defense. State v. Lockwood, 43 Or App 639, 603 P2d 1231 (1979)

It was prejudicial error to exclude testimony showing defendant's awareness of husband's violent temper and previous violence against wife, because evidence was relevant to whether defendant could have reasonably believed that husband was about to subject wife to "abuse or imminent use of unlawful physical force." State v. Wheeler, 43 Or App 875, 604 P2d 449 (1979)

Trial court did not err in failing to give defendant's requested jury instruction that individual has unqualified right to resist arrest, if arrest is made with excessive force. State v. Wright, 310 Or 430, 799 P2d 642 (1990)

Even when one or more of threatening circumstances described in ORS 161.219 is present, use of deadly force is justified only if it does not exceed "degree of force which person reasonably believes to be necessary." State v. Haro, 117 Or App 147, 843 P2d 966 (1992), Sup Ct review denied

When defendant testified that weapon discharged by accident, trial court did not err by not giving self-defense instruction to jury. State v. Stalder, 117 Or App 289, 844 P2d 225 (1992)

Where defendant maintained at trial that defendant did not intend to injure victim of assault, trial court was justified in not giving self-defense instruction since no evidence supported theory of self-defense. State v. Boyce, 120 Or App 299, 852 P2d 276 (1993)

Law Review Citations

51 OLR 579-587 (1972)

§§ 161.190 to 161.265

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute (Ors 163.110)

There were cases where self-defense would not be a defense but the right to self-defense was still available to establish that the defendant was engaged in a lawful act at the time of the killing. State v. Leos, 7 Or App 211, 490 P2d 521 (1971)

Chapter 161

Notes of Decisions

A juvenile court adjudication of whether or not a child committed acts which would be a criminal violation if committed by an adult must necessarily include an adjudication of all affirmative defenses that would be available to an adult being tried for the same criminal violation. State ex rel Juvenile Dept. v. L.J., 26 Or App 461, 552 P2d 1322 (1976)

Law Review Citations

2 EL 237 (1971); 51 OLR 427-637 (1972)

Chapter 161

Criminal Code


Notes of Decisions

Legislature's adoption of 1971 Criminal Code did not abolish doctrine of transferred intent. State v. Wesley, 254 Or App 697, 295 P3d 1147 (2013), Sup Ct review denied


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021