Criminal Defense Attorney | Self Defense | West Michigan

Grand Rapids Self Defense Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys Ledford & Associates based in Grand Rapids, MI are committed to providing extensive legal support. We approach each client with a focus on integrity, advocacy, and understanding. We fight for you!

Paul A. Ledford, Esq. is a nationally recognized Civil Rights, firearms, and self-defense attorney, representing clients regularly in First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights issues, Concealed Pistol Licensing issues, Deadly Force and non-deadly force, self-defense and defense of others, National Firearms Act Trust creation, FFL licensing issues and other Criminal Defense issues.

In addition to representing clients, Mr. Ledford is a local university guest lecturer on criminal defense and civil rights topical issues. He has taught the legal portion of Concealed Pistol License courses since October 2001, and has educatedwell over 7000 CPL applicants to date. Mr. Ledford is also a referral attorney with the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and is approved to represent member clients with these self-defense insurance coverage's.

In a self-defense situation

It is IMPERATIVE that you call "911" preferably BEFORE engaging the perpetrator. Use your CPL training: call out for help, yell to the perpetrator to "go away," "leave me/us alone," "STOP!" In times like this, politeness is NOT a virtue. It is entirely appropriate to use VERY strong language to warn the perpetrator away. Make a scene. Hopefully, in this way, you will NEVER have to use your gun.

However, if the perpetrator does not heed your AGGRESSIVE warnings, LOUDLY, continue to warn them, and tell the perpetrator(s) that you have a gun, that you are trained to use it, and that you will use it to defend yourself.

You should narrate out loud what is happening and what you are about to do. If anyone is listening, and/or if you have 911 on your phone, you are making a record that you have given ample warning to the perpetrator BEFORE you use any form of force in your self-defense.

REMEMBER: Brandishing is the display of your firearm and the communication of a threat that you will use it, whether that threat is communicated verbally or by your actions and conduct. IF YOU POINT YOUR FIREARM at the perpetrator, you are committing a FELONIOUS ASSAULT, and prosecutors and judges often treat this on par with, and with the same seriousness as if you had fired your weapon. IF YOU PULL THE TRIGGER, you are using DEADLY FORCE! DO NOT "fire for effect" or "fire a warning shot!"Not only is this dangerous to both you and any witnesses nearby, but bullets fired into the air come down and can injure innocents far away from the event. Ricochets can also cause unintended harm.

In the event you have had to take action to defend yourself, if you haven't already, CALL 911! It is my experience in handling self-defense cases that as often as not, the perpetrator will call 911 if he/she can, and do their very best to make YOU out to be the assailant. The wrongdoer will make all sorts of false claims that YOU were the perpetrator, that YOU started the altercation, that they were just innocent passersby, that they were minding their own business when you went crazy. FOR THIS REASON, it is imperative that you call 911 in any self-defense situation. Remember, however, that in calling 911, anything you say CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU!! Therefore, there are several things you MUST communicate:

  • "I WAS IN FEAR FOR MY LIFE!!" (or, in fear for the life of the person you went to the aid of)
  • "I was forced to defend myself (or the person you aided)
  • Describe the perpetrator(s) / assailants as best you can
  • Describe yourself and what you are wearing
  • Request medical assistance if anyone is injured
  • Ask the dispatcher what he/she wants you to do next

THERE IS NOTHING MORE YOU NEED TO SAY!! You do NOT need to answer the dispatcher's questions about what happened. If you do, YOU MAY BE GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT!

If (or when) the police arrive at the scene, you may restate what you told the dispatcher, BUT DO NOT DISCUSS WHAT HAPPENED! The police will do their job. One of their jobs is to try to get you to talk. DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE NATURAL DESIRE TO DEFEND YOURSELF! That is what your attorney is for. CALL YOUR SELF-DEFENSE ATTORNEY! You should EXPECT that you will be going to jail. Be happy if you do not, but do not be shocked or surprised if you are pushed to the ground, handcuffed and arrested! FOLLOW the directions of the police officers arriving on the scene. DO NOT TAKE ANY QUICK ACTIONS!! You do NOT want to be shot in the confusion.

In addition to repeating what you told the dispatcher, tell the police officer(s): "I am going to exercise my right to remain silent at this time, and I am requesting to speak to my attorney." If you don't say these "magic words," the police can go right on interrogating you. They are NOT required to read you your "Miranda Rights" unless they are going to arrest you AND question you. It is part of the investigative officer's "tricks of the trade" to "interview" you, to tell you that they are "investigating what happened" and, even in response to a question, to tell you that if you come in and talk to them, they will not charge you.

REMEMBER: THE POLICE ARE ALLOWED TO LIE TO YOU AS A PART OF THEIR LEGITIMATE INVESTIGATIVE AND INTERROGATIVE PROCESS!! You, however, are NOT permitted to lie to them.

CALL YOUR ATTORNEY!!! Your defense lawyer should have experience dealing with these matters, dealing with police investigators, and experience with the techniques used by the police and investigators to get you to talk.

We provide a free initial, confidential telephone consultation. We are also associated with the NRA Self-Defense Insurance and the USCCA Self-Defense Insurance programs.

If you have any questions about any of the above or regarding your own specific needs, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (616) 257-3300 to speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys!