Vermont Jury Instructions


The issue of self-defense is presented in this case.  If (Def)_______________ acted in lawful self-defense, then [his] [her] actions are excused, and [he] [she] is not guilty of any crime.

(Def)_______________ is not required to prove that [he] [she] acted in self-defense.  Instead, the State must have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that [he] [she] did not act in self-defense.

[He] [she] had a right to use a reasonable amount of force to defend [himself] [herself], if [he] [she] reasonably believed the following three things:

1.  that [he] [she] was in immediate danger of bodily harm;

2.  that the use of force was necessary to avoid this harm; and

3.  that the amount of force [he] [she] used was necessary.

A person acting in self-defense may only use the amount of force that reasonably appears to be necessary under the circumstances.  Whether (Def)_______________’s actions were justified as self-defense depends upon whether it reasonably appeared to [him] [her] that it was necessary to use the force that [he] [she] actually used.  If [he] [she] used more force than was reasonably necessary to avoid injury, then [he] [she] did not act in self defense.