Stand Your Ground Laws

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Self-defense is not a new idea or concept. It has been around for many years. The notion of protecting yourself against intruders is something most citizens take to heart. It is better to have some way of protecting yourself in your own home when intruders invade, and such instances allow a victim to fight back if necessary.

In many states, it is legal to stay in your own home and protect yourself or others that reside there. In some situations, this may allow potential victims extreme measures up to the death of the assailant. Within this concept of standing your ground, persons at home do not have to evacuate due to break-ins or aggressors trying to steal or pillage.

How Far to Go

While over half the states have adopted some form of this concept legally, the full explanation and statues are up for debate on many details. Many believe this theory allows one to shoot first and ask questions later. However, this is an inaccurate description. When a person is at home and an outside influence disrupts the peace inside, as long as the person at home believes he is in danger of harm, he is legally obliged to stand his ground. The danger of harm must be immediate or impending. Though this model of defense is legal, evidence is still collected to ensure innocence of the potential victim and the truth of what occurred. This concept expands to allow possible targets to protect themselves even out in public as long as they are defending themselves and have the legal right to be on the property.


Surveillance, corroboration with witnesses, additional photos or video and even footprints or fingerprints are gathered to indicate how the actions took place. Evidence needs to support that this was in fact self-defense and who was the aggressor. Once the cause of events has been determined, the prosecution must prove that the actions were not self-defense in order to have the defendant convicted. If retaliation of attack is required by the defending party, it cannot have been the better option to flee. The prosecution will attempt to prove that fleeing or non-aggression by the defending person was the better option in these cases. Likewise, the aggressor cannot claim protection under stand your ground.


Some instances of violence allow bystanders that view these actions of prospective danger to intervene. Again, they are given the possible actions up to and including lethal force if it is necessary. These actions are allowed if it is perceived that the object of violence may be in peril of physical injury or death. The person defending, whether a bystander or the object of harm, is permitted to use equal strength to repel the attacker. Prosecutors and legal experts do not always agree on what equal strength or force means. However, the main theme of this action is that the person being attacked or the person assisting them is authorized to safeguard standing their ground. No retreat is necessary.

Questioning the Details

Many experts pick out the flaws of legal ideas such as Stand Your Ground without thinking of the bigger picture. They look at evidence and proof of actions. The evidence must support that the defender was not the attacker; the attacking party was intending to harm or kill another; and a bystander did see a potential occurrence of physical harm to another. Proponents that support Stand Your Ground laws argue that if experts were to revoke these types of laws, a person would not have the authority to protect his or her family, self or friends from harm from intruders. A neighbor would not have the ability to ensure others were kept safe from danger. This extends to the ability to protect property from damage or destruction as well.


While the Stand Your Ground laws are not flawless, they allow people to defend themselves if attacked. However, criminals are not allowed to kill another and claim they were protecting themselves. Protections and precautions are put in place to ensure these actions are not permissible. Evidence is gathered to ensure protection under the law for innocent parties. These laws deflect the potential threat of fear for homeowners and possible victims of various crimes. These regulations permit one to use necessary force to protect. Sanctioning bystanders to come to the defense of others in turn creates a more stable society of law and order.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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