Defining “Stand Your Ground” laws

Defining “Stand Your Ground” laws

Most people in Troy may react skeptically when hearing one respond to accusations of violence by claiming they acted in self-defense. You might share their skepticism (until you yourself face a situation in which you feel compelled to act).

Many of our past clients here at the Law Office of John Freeman have encountered such circumstances and had to fight to prove they only acted in self-preservation. When you find yourself in the same position, it helps to know the State of Michigan’s stance when it comes to self-defense laws.

“Stand Your Ground”

Most states follow either one of two legal philosophies when it comes to the establishment of self-defense laws: “The Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground.” The former refers back to the old English adage of “an Englishman’s home is his castle,” implying the natural right bestowed on property owners to defend their lands. The Castle Doctrine essentially affirms this by allowing homeowners to use force in defending themselves and members of their households from intruders (the same right typically extends to one’s vehicle and place of business, as well).

“Stand Your Ground” laws, on the other, extend that right to other situations in which you feel threatened. Basically, to stand your ground means that you have no legal duty to retreat from a situation where you are being confronted and you were not the aggressor in the conflict.  However, note that the failure to retreat if it is safe to do so could be considered when determining if you reasonably used force to defend yourself.

Michigan’s self-defense laws

Local state laws demonstrate that Michigan follows the “Stand Your Ground” philosophy. Section 780.972 of the state’s Criminal Procedure Code says that you have the right to respond with force (even deadly force) in any situation where you reasonably believe you (or another) may be in danger of the following:

  • Death
  • Serious injury
  • Sexual assault

You can find more information on your right to defend yourself throughout our site.