Should you really ‘Stand Your Ground’?

The American legal system has always protected a person’s right to defend his or herself from an intruder in the home. Some states go further and allow a person to protect oneself in a place of business.

In the past several years some states have begun to pass laws that widen the scope of traditional personal defense laws. Traditionally, personal defense laws commonly referred to as “Castle Doctrine.” Most states, including Illinois, have this basic self-defense doctrine on the books.

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, an individual can use potentially deadly force without liability if someone intrudes their home to commit a felony and the individual feels reasonably threatened. Other portions of this law extend to the protection of an individual who is being attacked outside of the home with deadly force.

But does the current self-defense law leave the need for an expanded Stand Your Ground law? First, it’s important to note how exactly a Stand Your Ground law expands current self-defense laws.

Perhaps the greatest difference between the traditional Castle Doctrine laws and the Stand Your Ground law is a lack of duty to retreat. Under the traditional Castle Doctrine, a person who is attacked outside of his or her home and who has the opportunity to retreat from the attacker has to obligation to do so before using deadly force. With the Stand Your Ground law, however, this duty to retreat does not exist.

That said, the Stand Your Ground law in general allows an individual to employ deadly force if he or she feels reasonably threatened. What this law does not require, unlike the traditional Castle Doctrine, is for the person to actually be attacked to justify the use of deadly force.

While states have continued to pass these laws in recent years, the effects of the laws are cause for concern. According to a recent American Bar Association study, states with a Stand Your Ground law experienced an eight percent increase in murder rates compared to neighboring states with no such law. What’s more, defendants have largely been unsuccessful in using this law as a defense in court and have used it as a defense when charged with the killing of law enforcement.

Illinois does not currently have a Stand Your Ground law in name. The state does, however, allow for a similar defense with the exception that the statute lays out the clear exceptions to the law’s protection.

Do everything you can to prevent a situation in which you’d have to defend yourself. Step one? Contact Protection Associates, Inc. today for your obligation- and cost-free security review!

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