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Alabama’s Stand Your Ground Law

Each state is responsible for enacting its own self-defense laws. Typically, the law states that an individual has one of three duties in regards to their right to defend themselves with the use of deadly force: a duty to retreat, a duty to retreat on certain types of property, or no duty to retreat at all. The latter – no duty to retreat, with no property limits – is often referred to as the ‘stand your ground’ law. The following reviews Alabama’s stand your ground law and what it means in terms of use of deadly force in defense of self.

The Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense in Alabama

Alabama is one of a handful of states in the nation that have adopted a stand your ground law.  This law states that that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place where they have a lawful right to be (i.e. not limited to their own personal property/home) and that they may use any level of force necessary, including deadly force, in the event that they believe they are at risk of death or serious harm.

To be sure, Alabama Code Title 13A Criminal Code 13A-3-23 reads:

A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defense himself or herself or a third person….and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose.

The law continues to read that a person may use deadly force if the person believes that another person:

Will use, or is currently using, unlawful deadly force;

Is about to use force against the person in order to unlawfully occupy a building or commit and act of burglary;

Is committing any act of kidnapping, assault, robbery, or burglary; or

Is otherwise entering a property with the intent to use physical force against another person with the intent to cause bodily injury or harm. 

The law also means that, unlike in other states, the person does not have to retreat prior to using deadly force, and only use deadly force as an absolute last resort. 

A Person Who Uses Force Under the Provisions of the Law Is Immune from Criminal Prosecution

If a person uses force, including deadly force, against another, but the use of force was permitted per the section of law discussed above, then that person is immune from criminal prosecution. This means that if you shoot someone, or otherwise use deadly force against them to a degree that is fatal, you cannot be prosecuted for manslaughter or murder if you were acting in self-defense because you reasonably believed that you (or a third person) were at risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Working with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

While the law in Alabama may protect individuals who use deadly force from prosecution in the event that the use of force was in self-defense, determining whether or not an individual really faced serious bodily injury or death is not always easy to do. If criminal charges have been pressed against you for use of deadly force in Alabama, and you believe that you were acting in self-defense, it is important that you work with an experienced criminal law attorney to help you prove this to have the charges against you dropped or to secure a verdict in your favor.

To learn more about your rights under Alabama’s stand your ground laws, and what to do if you are facing criminal charges for the use of deadly force, contact our talented Alabama criminal defense attorney today.   Call the Law Office of Ginger Poynter, LLC at (251) 445-8313.

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