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What Are Georgia’s Self-Defense Laws?

Every American enjoys certain basic rights, such as the right to free speech, the right to practice the religion of one’s choosing and the right to peaceful assembly. One other right Americans enjoy, despite the controversy surrounding it, is the right to defend oneself against death or injury. That said, self-defense laws vary from state to state, with some allowing residents more flexibility than others. FindLaw explores Georgia’s self-defense laws in brief,

Georgia is one of 25 states that has stand your ground laws. The basis of stand your ground laws is that a person who receives a physical threat does not have to back down before he or she may legally use force against the attacker. This differs from the laws of the remaining 25 states in that a person does not have to be on his or her own property to engage in forceful defensive behavior.

That said, Georgia law also states that the use of force must be justified. The state recognizes three definitions of justifiable use of force. Force is justified if you use force when you reasonably believe that doing so is necessary to protect yourself or another party from harm. It is also justified if the scope of your force is equal to that demonstrated by the offender. Deadly force is only reasonable if you use it to prevent your own death, great bodily harm or the death or bodily harm of another person.

Georgia will not consider force justified if you are the initial aggressor. Your behavior is also unwarranted if you use force after committing, attempting to commit or leaving after having committed or attempted to commit a felony.

This article is for your educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.