Colorado is one of 33 states in the US that has enacted a Stand Your Ground law. This law allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat, even in a public space. The law has been controversial since its inception, with supporters arguing that it provides the necessary protection for law-abiding citizens and opponents warning of the potential for abuse and escalation of violence.
What is Stand Your Ground?
Stand Your Ground laws originated in Florida in 2005 and have since been enacted in many other states, including Colorado in 2017. The law essentially allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat, even if they are in a public space. Previously, the law in Colorado required that a person first try to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.
How Does Stand Your Ground Apply in Colorado?
In Colorado, the Stand Your Ground law allows people to use deadly force in self-defense if they believe it is necessary to protect themselves or others from imminent harm. The person does not have to retreat first and can use deadly force anywhere they have a legal right to be, including public spaces. However, the person must reasonably believe that using deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury.
What Are The Potential Consequences of Using Deadly Force in Self-Defense?
While Stand Your Ground laws provide individuals with more protection in self-defense situations, it’s important to remember that using deadly force can still have serious consequences. In Colorado, if you use deadly force in self-defense and cause the death of another person, you may face criminal charges, including homicide or manslaughter. Even if you are ultimately acquitted of criminal charges, you may still face civil lawsuits from the deceased person’s family.
What if I’m Being Threatened but Don’t Want To Use Deadly Force?
If you’re in a situation where you feel threatened but don’t want to use deadly force, other options are available. You can use non-lethal self-defense measures such as pepper spray or a stun gun or try to de-escalate the situation by talking or walking away if possible. It’s important to remember that Stand Your Ground does not require deadly force – it simply allows for it in certain circumstances.
What Should I Do if I Use Deadly Force In Self-Defense?
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have had to use deadly force in self-defense, you must seek the assistance of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You may still face criminal charges and legal consequences even if you believe you were acting in self-defense. An attorney can provide you with expert legal guidance, help you navigate the complex legal process, and protect your rights throughout the entire process. They can also advise you on best handling interactions with law enforcement, the courts, or other parties involved in your case. Remember, having the right legal representation can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Colorado’s Stand Your Ground law allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat, even in public spaces. While the law provides additional protection for law-abiding citizens, it’s important to remember that using deadly force can still have serious consequences. If you find yourself in a self-defense situation, it’s important to know your rights and options and to contact an attorney if necessary.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.