Is the Make My Day Law the Same As Stand Your Ground?

You deserve to feel safe in your home; you have the right to defend yourself when someone intrudes. Two laws grant homeowners legal immunity when they respond to threats in self-defense. One is the Stand-Your-Ground law, and the other is the Make-My-Day rule. The two have significant differences, as criminal defense lawyers in Colorado explain.

Stand Your Ground Law

The Stand-Your-Ground law allows you to use reasonable force in self-defense in the face of danger. The law doesn’t require you to retreat from an altercation. Sometimes, you can use deadly force if the situation demands it.

An example of situations where you can use the Stand-Your-Ground law is if someone is trespassing on your property and attacks you upon confronting them. Instead of retreating, you can stand your ground to protect yourself, your family, and your property from the intruder. However, the amount of force you use must be reasonable. For example, shooting at an unarmed intruder is not reasonable.

Another example is if someone is trying to hit you with their car. Shooting at the driver to protect yourself could be reasonable and might save you from penalty under this law. The application of the law depends on many factors, and if you’re facing assault charges, consult skilled domestic violence lawyers in Colorado Springs for advice on how to use the Stand-Your-Ground law in your defense.

Make My Day Law

Make My Day law, also known as the Castle Doctrine, applies to any home, including hotel rooms and RV trailers. However, this law does not cover common areas of an apartment building. The three elements of the Make My Day law that allow you to legally harm or kill an intruder are:

  • The intruder illegally enters your dwelling or home.
  • You have reasonable grounds to believe the intruder committed or wants to commit a crime in your home after intruding.
  • You have reasonable grounds to believe the intruder may use some degree of physical force against you or another occupant in the home.

The intruder is not required to break into your home or dwelling for you to harm or kill them. Under this law, you can kill an intruder who enters through an open window or unlocked door if you’re the occupant.

Is There a Duty to Retreat in Colorado?

Colorado law doesn’t impose a duty to retreat when you’re in a dwelling, and a seemingly dangerous intruder enters. The position holds even if you can easily escape. Instead, you can stand your ground, fight the intruder, and even kill them, depending on the circumstances. However, you should only use force as a last resort.

What if the Intruder is Unarmed?

The Make My Day law still applies if an intruder in your home is unarmed. Under the law, your fists can qualify as weapons to defend yourself or other occupants against an intruder. For the law to provide immunity, you are only required to believe at the time of intrusion that the intruder will or has committed a crime in addition to entering your home illegally.
You also must believe that the intruder may use physical force against you or another person in your dwelling. Domestic violence lawyers in Colorado Springs say that your belief forms the basis of using anything available to protect yourself and others.

Are There Location Limits for the Make My Day Law?

The law only applies when someone intrudes on your dwelling. It doesn’t provide immunity if you shoot and kill someone on your front porch or backyard. Neither does the law apply if you hit someone on public property or another place outside your home. Your Colorado Springs domestic violence attorneys can advise on other self-defense laws that may apply in that case.

Even so, the following elements must be present:

  • You believed that non-deadly force would not be adequate to stop the intruder from harming you
  • You thought you or someone else was in imminent danger of a severe bodily injury or death
  • The intruder used physical force against you
  • The intruder appeared to commit a crime against you, such as sexual assault, kidnapping, or robbery

If these conditions are absent, the law allows you only to use force reasonably necessary to fight the aggressor.

What Are My Rights Under the Make My Day Law?

A common misconception about this self-defense law is that you have the right to shoot anyone who intrudes on your home or property, but that’s not true. Using unreasonable force against anyone is never taken lightly under the law. Besides, the law doesn’t justify killing another person unless you have a warranted reason to do so.

For the Make My Day law to apply in your self-defense case, the intruder must be within your dwelling, uninvited. They also must be committing a crime after intruding on your home. You don’t have the right to shoot or use deadly force on someone who breaks into your property to steal something from your car, for example. The law won’t provide immunity in this case.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Providing Self-Defense Strategies

While you have a right to defend yourself when someone attacks you, understanding how self-defense laws work is crucial. This knowledge can prevent you from being convicted of assault or domestic violence charges. The Make My Day is one such law, but it may only provide immunity in some cases.

It would be best to consult skilled criminal defense lawyers for legal guidance on how the law works. They can assess your case and determine if the law would provide immunity to protect you from a conviction. The Lux Law Firm has experienced domestic violence lawyers who can help you. Call us at 719-451-7469 or reach out to us online to schedule a FREE consultation.