North Carolina General Statute 14-51.3 (NCGS 14-51.3) dictates when a person, in defense of themselves or others, may use physical force against a person who is unlawfully engaged in violence or threatened violence against them or another person:
NCGS 14-51.3: Use of Force in Defense of Person; Relief From Criminal or Civil Liability.
(a) A person is justified in using force against another when, and to the extent that, the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary to defend himself, herself or another against the others imminent use of unlawful force;
A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat in any place he or she has the lawful right to be if either of the following applies:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.
(2) Under the circumstances permitted pursuant to G.S. 14‑51.2.
(b) A person who uses force as permitted by this section is justified in using such force and is immune from civil or criminal liability for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer or bail bondsman who was lawfully acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer or bail bondsman identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer or bail bondsman in the lawful performance of his or her official duties. (2011‑268, s. 1.)