What does “stand your ground” mean?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Criminal Law |

Missouri is one of the states considered a “stand your ground” state. But what exactly does that mean?

Understanding this law’s specifics can play a significant role in a criminal trial.

The right to defend yourself

There continues to be significant debate across the United States regarding “stand your ground” laws and how they pertain to self-defense. An individual is allowed to use force, including deadly force, when they perceive a threat. Furthermore, there is no duty to retreat.

However, there are conditions and limitations regarding this statute:

  • There must be a reasonable belief that such force is necessary to prevent harm.
  • The person using force can’t be trespassing or unlawfully entering a dwelling. They must be in a dwelling, a vehicle or any place they have the legal right to be.
  • The threat must be immediate and unlawful.

The “stand your ground” statute also supports the Castle Doctrine, which allows individuals to defend their homes from intruders. Missouri residents who support these laws state they empower individuals to protect themselves and deter criminal activity.

Still, “stand your ground” isn’t without controversy. Opponents feel that these laws can lead to unnecessary violence and cite the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Rally as an example, where a man started shooting because he felt threatened. If the defendant uses the “stand your ground” law as their legal defense strategy, this catastrophic event will test Missouri’s courts.

It’s crucial that every Missourian familiarize themselves with the state’s specific self-defense statutes and how they apply in various scenarios. It’s also essential to stay up-to-date with any changes or amendments to the law. 

If a situation occurs that requires you to use deadly force, you will want to seek guidance from someone who can help you navigate the complexities of a self-defense claim and help secure the best possible outcome.