There are self-defense laws in the United States that justify using lethal force in situations where deadly force is necessary to prevent serious bodily harm or imminent death. “Stand your ground” laws have existed for centuries as part of legal tradition. However, while it may sound relatively straightforward, the reality could be a little more complex.
If you’re facing charges of using deadly force against another person, criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs can defend you in court. They can show that you had no other option when you took that action. Since self-defense laws are complex and apply in a broad range of situations, it helps to have the legal counsel of someone who understands state and federal criminal laws and how they apply.
When in Self-Defense Allowed in Colorado?
The state of Colorado doesn’t have a “stand your ground” statute, but the supreme court holds that there is no duty to retreat before using force in public. Self-defense is legal in Colorado when an individual believes to be in physical danger. If you believe you’re in harm’s way, you can use a degree of force appropriate for the circumstances.
That means you can use deadly force if the situation calls for it and you reasonably believe that:
- You are likely to suffer significant bodily harm or injury or be killed
- The attacker is likely to use serious force against you or other occupants in the residence
- The aggressor is committing a felony or sexual assault, or kidnapping
However, the limitation is that you shouldn’t be aggressive toward the other party. If a self-defense case turns sour and you’re arrested for causing bodily harm to another person, talk to Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers and let them defend you.
About Colorado’s Historic “No Duty to Retreat Rule”
Colorado, a “no duty to retreat” state, has a “statutory privilege” clause that allows using physical and deadly force in self-defense. The Justification and Exemption from Criminal Responsibility Section 18-1-704 states that:
- An individual is allowed to use physical force upon another person in defending themselves or another person from what they believe to be the use of unlawful physical force by that other person.
- Deadly force may only apply where an individual reasonably believes that a lesser amount of force would be inadequate to defend themselves.
- A person has no justification for using physical force if he provokes the use of unlawful physical force by the other person, is the initial aggressor, or the physical force involved is a product of a combat by an agreement that isn’t allowed by law.
Overall, this law shall not be an affirmative defense instruction. The prosecuting attorney has no burden to disapprove self-defense, and this law section doesn’t apply to strict liability crimes.
Comparing the “Stand Your Ground Law” to “Make My Day Law”
Colorado’s “Make My Day Law” is closely similar to the “Stand Your Ground Law” in that they both may be expansions of the common law “castle doctrine.” The doctrine stipulates that an individual doesn’t have a duty to retreat before using deadly force when faced with imminent peril at home. However, the “Make My Day” law allows additional self-defense rights.
It provides room for additional rights to self-defense by allowing a dwelling’s occupant to use any degree of physical force against a person who unlawfully gains entry into a residence. If the occupant believes that the intruder is about to commit, is committing, or has committed a crime after gaining unlawful access, they can use force against the intruder.
On the contrary, the “Stand My Ground Law” doesn’t consider the location of the alteration and is not relevant when an individual uses physical or deadly force.
Why Does the Law Allow Colorado Residents to Use Force Under the Stand Your Grounds Laws?
State officials believe that residents can use physical or deadly force because they have a right to defend themselves. The law doesn’t require you to attempt to leave an altercation before you can use force, even if it’s lethal.
The ideal situation to use the “stand your ground” defense rule is at home, especially if subjected to domestic violence. However, it may be more relevant when you use physical or lethal force against home invaders. The law favors the homeowner more in case of injuries or death.
Consult domestic violence lawyers in Colorado Springs to understand your legal options and rights if you’re facing charges of using force against another person at your home.
Can I Use Deadly Force to Prevent Trespassing in Colorado?
Under 18-1-706 C.R.S., people can reasonably use appropriate physical force as necessary to stop or prevent what appears to be either:
- A trespass
- An attempt of criminal misdemeanor, theft, or criminal tampering involving property
If the property involved is not a place of residence, one can only use deadly force if:
- The action is for self-defense or the defense of others
- The person using force reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent or stop what they believe to be an attempted first-degree arson.
Have a consultation with an experienced Colorado Springs domestic violence attorney to understand if the “stand your ground” law applies in your case and how to defend yourself in court.
How Much Force is Allowed in Stand Your Ground Law?
The law allows you to use as much force as you reasonably believe necessary to defend yourself. In most cases, this means the amount of force you use should equal the amount of force you’re being threatened with, but this varies with every situation.
For example, you can’t claim self-defense if you shoot at someone for punching you. That would be considered excessive force, given that the punch probably didn’t cause serious bodily harm to justify using a gun. You may not be able to argue that you were defending yourself, but domestic violence attorneys in Colorado Springs can aggressively defend you.
Learn Your Legal Options Today from a Legal Professional
Being charged with using excessive force against another person can have severe consequences. Fortunately, a domestic violence defense lawyer can defend you, depending on the circumstances. They can use the “stand your ground” laws in Colorado to argue that you acted in self-defense against an aggressor.
We have experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyers to fight for your rights. We understand that these charges can cause anxiety about the unknown. Let us help you build a strong defense. Contact us to schedule a FREE in-depth case evaluation.