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Justified Use of Force

Oklahoma statute § 21-643 spells out the circumstances under which the use of force against another person is considered lawful:

  • • Situations that require the use of force by law enforcement officers
  • • Self-defense scenarios in which a private citizen must protect himself or herself against the threat of injury

Self Defense

This statute states that you are within your legal rights to use force against another person who is attempting to harm you physically or trespass upon or interfere with your property. However, the level of force that you use in defense must be proportional to the threat.

Use of Force by Parents

The statute also authorizes parents, guardians and caretakers of children to physically restrain or correct a child, so long as the force is moderate and reasonable.

Similarly, a person is legally allowed to physically restrain a mentally ill or disabled person in the interest of preventing harm to him or herself or others.

Transportation Passengers

Carriers of passengers—for example, bus drivers, airline pilots and train conductors—are authorized to use physical force to remove unruly or disorderly passengers from the carrier. Again, the level of force used must be reasonable.

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