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What Is Allowed with Michigan’s Stand Your Ground Law?

Mar 08, 2023, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense
Man breaking into dark house

You have a right to defend yourself if someone tries to harm you. However, that right is limited. You might wonder to what extent you can “stand your ground” when someone attacks you. The answer depends on the circumstances; every situation is vastly different. Situations involving a concealed weapon can make the situation even more complex. If you are charged with a criminal offense for defending yourself, some defenses can help you avoid the harsh penalties resulting from a conviction.

Michigan’s Stand Your Ground Law: The Basics

Michigan and 25 other states have a “stand your ground” law, which extends the Castle Doctrine. This law allows you to use force to defend yourself or others if you are threatened. That force may be nonlethal or lethal, depending on the circumstances. Further, you do not have an obligation to retreat first.

Michigan’s stand-your-ground law does not permit you to shoot someone without cause. Instead, if someone is threatening your life, then you can protect yourself and others. The stand-your-ground law applies to nonlethal as well as lethal force.

Using Nonlethal and Lethal Force

You should only use the degree of force necessary to protect yourself and others. That means you should consider using non-deadly force before using lethal force. However, if deadly force is needed to protect yourself, it is legal to be used for self-defense in some situations.

Lethal force can be used if you feel you are imminently at risk of:

  • Death
  • Great bodily harm
  • Sexual assault

If you see someone committing a crime that does not potentially result in one of the above scenarios, you cannot use lethal force against them.

Are There Exceptions to the Stand Your Ground Law?

There are situations when you cannot use Michigan’s stand-your-ground law. For example, if you commit a crime and someone threatens your life, you cannot legally use lethal force against them. Similarly, if you are somewhere you are not legally allowed to be (trespassing), then the stand-your-ground law does not apply.

You must genuinely believe that lethal force is the only way to defend yourself or another person against an oncoming threat to legally use the stand-your-ground law in Michigan.

What Is the “Duty to Retreat”?

In states without stand-your-ground laws, individuals have a duty to attempt retreat before using lethal force against someone trying to harm them or others. This applies to most situations, except when you are threatened in your home. In most other states, the Castle Doctrine applies.

What Is the Castle Doctrine?

The Castle Doctrine allows individuals to protect themselves with lethal force if someone threatens them within their home. They do not have to attempt retreat from their own home where someone is committing a crime. For example, if someone breaks into your home, you do not have to try to run away. Instead, you can stand your ground and use force against them under the Castle Doctrine. Michigan’s stand-your-ground law extends the Castle Doctrine outside of the home.

Can the Stand Your Ground Law Affect Violent Crime Charges?

If you are charged with a violent crime against another person, your criminal defense attorney may be able to use Michigan’s stand-your-ground law as a defense. If you used lethal or nonlethal force in self-defense, your situation might be legal under the stand-your-ground law.

It’s best to allow your attorney to review your situation and determine if the law applies to your case. It is a complex argument and requires specific evidence and legal knowledge. A self-defense lawyer can help you create a defense that will raise doubt about the violence you use and get you the best outcome possible.

Turn to the Davis Law Group

Attorney Maurice Davis is a stand-your-ground attorney dedicated to helping clients stay out of prison. You can defend yourself and others if you are threatened. In some cases, that situation might even include using lethal force. These cases often become heated and emotional quickly. Let us help you navigate the legal field to get a positive outcome.

Call (313) 818-3238 or use our online contact form to schedule a case consultation.