The phrase “stand your ground” is another quote you will hear a lot when people are talking about deadly self defense shootings. It basically means that you DO NOT have to retreat if you are faced with a situation where you have to use deadly force to protect yourself or others.
In other words, just because you could retreat and remove yourself from the confrontation, doesn’t mean you have to.
Texas Penal Code S9.32(c) states that in defending yourself or another person you have no duty to retreat if:
- You have a legal right to be at the location where deadly force is used.- This essentially means as long as you are in a place where you are not trespassing, you most likely have a legal right to be there under the no duty to retreat law.
- You did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used.- You can’t start the fight and claim a justified use of deadly force. HOWEVER, if you do abandon the fight or clearly communicate your intent is to leave the area and confrontation and the other continues to pursue or use force against you, then you do not have a duty to retreat.
- You were not engaged in criminal activity at the time deadly force was used.- Nothing more than a Class C misdemeanor traffic offense at the time of deadly force will pass when using lethal force for self defense will work under this law.
This law is essentially stating that you should not have to find an escape route or retreat if any of the above conditions are met.
Now, I will list some conditions in which the “stand your ground laws do not apply.
- The deadly force is not justified in response to a verbal altercation alone.
- You will not be justified in response to resisting arrest or search being made by a police officer. Even if the arrest or search is found to be unlawful.
- The deadly force against another even if it is consenting.
- If you seek a discussion with another person regarding your differences while unlawfully carrying a weapon.
It is easy to see that these terms that are thrown around are fairly complex and have more depth than most people think. Even in a totally justifiable deadly self defense shooting, you may be looking at tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Whether you agree or disagree with the George Zimmerman ruling, that one second probably cost him $100 grand.
The no duty to retreat law in a nutshell means if trouble comes looking for you, you don’t have to flee, and if you choose, you can use up to deadly force.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If you are justified in using deadly force, by all means do so. Just remember you own it after you pull the trigger.
Everyday we see in the news where there has been another shooting. To some it is completely justified, and to others it is cold blooded murder. It will not be a jury of tactical operators, police officers or people of a like mind. The jury can be a scary thing and you never know how they will see a case.
I hope I shed a fraction of light on this subject and try and keep these things in mind while you are carrying. Remember just because you can shoot, doesn’t always mean you should.
Fortuna Paratus Remunerat- Fortune Favors the Prepared
Story by Shane Smith