Assault with Self-Defense Spray

Assault with a self-defense spray or foam is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both. The law instructs judges to consider enhancing a person’s sentence where there is an assault or threat of use of self-defense spray.

A person may use self-defense spray in self-defense, which is discussed below.

What is Self-Defense Spray?

Self-defense spray is a device which uses as a projectile a chemical solution which includes;

  • Not more than 35 grams of any combination of orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile and inert ingredients, or
  • A solution containing not more than 18% oleoresin capsicum, or
  • A solution containing an ultraviolet dye and not more than 18% oleoresin capsicum.

What is Orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile?

It’s tear gas. It’s a gas that causes a burning sensation and tearing in the eyes. A person sprayed with tear gas is unable to keep their eyes open and feels burning irritation in their eyes, mouth, throat, and nose. The person can be partially incapacitated. Tear gas is often used by police to control riots.

What is Oleoresin Capsicum?

It’s pepper spray. The chemical irritates the eyes to cause pain, tears, and temporary blindness.

It’s Against the Law to Sell Self-Defense Spray to Minors

Sale to a minor is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both

Self-Defense with Self-Defense Spray

Self-defense spray can of course be used in self-defense, by people in the general public and by peace officers.

A person may use the pepper spray variety of self-defense spray (with the chemical limits defined above) in the reasonable use in the protection of person or property under such circumstances justifying the use of force. This law does not refer to tear gas spray in the self-defense section.

The right to self-defense is complicated and should not be taken lightly. Study the law on self-defense beforehand to prevent legal problems.

MCL 750.224d

Contact ArborYpsi Law

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor Attorney focusing on Criminal Defense Law.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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