Stand Your Ground States
Stand your ground states are so-called because they have a stand your ground law in place. In these stand your ground states, people are not legally required to stand down from using deadly force to protect themselves or their homes. There are a number of crimes that someone can use deadly force to defend against in these states.
Which States Are Stand Your Ground States?
Some states are stand your ground states; some are duty to retreat states, others are neither but have self-defense laws similar to stand your ground states. The stand your ground states in the United States are:
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Restrictions in Stand Your Ground States
Stand your ground states are still subject to restrictions. Deadly force may only be used for certain crimes, such as rape, kidnapping, robbery, or deadly force if there is a reasonable fear of death or serious injury. Also, some people cannot use deadly force in stand your ground states. For example, someone cannot use stand your ground laws if they were doing something illegal or were the initial aggressor.
Stand your ground states require the use of force to be appropriate to the level of threat. There must be a reasonable perception of harm that motivates the use of deadly force.
Duty to Retreat States
The opposite to stand your ground states are duty to retreat states. This means that if there is a way to stand down or retreat rather than use deadly force, a person has a duty to do so. These states still allow deadly force in situations where there is no possibility to retreat. For example, if you were pinned down or otherwise unable to retreat and deadly force is proportionate to the threat and the only option, then it is permittable in a duty to retreat state.
The duty to retreat states are:
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New York
Some of these states also allow for the appropriate use of deadly force to protect your home from attack.