Half of the states in America have stand-your-ground laws, including Georgia. These laws could protect you if you defend yourself. However, it is important that you know the specifics in order to exercise your rights in a judicious manner.
One thing you would want to remember is that you have rights that extend beyond standing your ground in the face of malicious force. You also have a right to remain silent, even if you believe there was justification for your actions. It is probably wise that you exercise this right by refraining from making any statements to police officers or investigatory personnel.
When can you stand your ground?
Generally speaking, you could have the right to defend yourself with force in a very specific set of circumstances:
- When necessary to protect yourself or someone else from unlawful use of force
- When the amount of force you use is necessary to defend yourself
Furthermore, you could be justified using deadly force when you are preventing death or serious bodily harm to yourself or someone else. You may also be able to use it to prevent certain types of felonies.
What are the exceptions?
While this may seem straightforward, there is no guarantee that the material facts of a situation will be as clear as you believe them to be. Luckily, courts would consider your reasonable understanding of the situation and the way that it affected your perception when deciding whether there was justification for your use of force.
What is the best defense?
It could also be useful to remember that previous court decisions could affect the interpretation of these laws. Like many other aspects of criminal justice from a defense perspective, an informed strategy for using stand-your-ground statutes must usually consider much more than the letter of the law itself.