We’ve heard a lot about “stand your ground” laws in recent years. These are generally based on something called the castle doctrine. This basically says that a person has the right to use force, including deadly force if necessary, to protect themselves in their own home from an intruder.
States have their own versions of stand your ground laws. Some expand on the castle doctrine of being able to protect yourself in your own home.
Here in Mississippi, the stand your ground law is included under “justifiable homicide.” The law states that the “killing of a human being” is justifiable when “resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling, in any occupied vehicle, in any place of business, in any place of employment or in the immediate premises….”
No “duty to retreat”
Under this law, the person defending themselves or others or their property doesn’t have a “duty to retreat before using deadly force.” In fact, juries cannot “consider the person’s failure to retreat as evidence that the person’s use of force was unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable.”
It’s also important to know that the law creates a presumption that the person who used force was legally in their location and “reasonably feared imminent death or great bodily harm, or the commission of a felony upon him or another or upon his dwelling” or other premises if the person entered or was in the process of entering the location forcibly or illegally.
Unlike in some states, Mississippi law takes the burden of showing the action was reasonable off the defendant and places it on the prosecutors to prove that they acted unreasonably.
Mississippi law is more favorable to those who need to defend themselves, their property or other people through the use of potentially deadly force. However, if you’re under investigation or facing criminal charges for an act of self-defense, don’t take anything for granted. It’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights.