Everything You Need to Know About the Georgia Stand Your Ground Law

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The ‘stand your ground’ law in Georgia is meant to help people protect their families and homes, but it can also land you in trouble if you aren’t careful. Get all the info you need here.

For more information on OCGA 16 13 30 contact the law ladies today.

Understanding the GA Stand Your Ground Law

The right to protect ourselves is among the most fundamental legal protections that we have. As such, the self-defense laws of every state give people the right to use a certain degree of force to save their lives, the lives of others, and even property without the fear of criminal prosecution.

While society typically supports this legal principle, it’s not without contention, especially when it comes to Georgia’s ‘stand your ground’ laws, also known as the ‘standing your ground’ law.

Numerous states have legalized the use of force in self-defense only in situations in which it is impossible to safely escape, but Georgia allows the threatened party to protect themselves without making an initial attempt to back down.

Have You Been Arrested After Following the Stand Your Ground Law in Georgia?

In most cases, killing or injuring somebody in self-defense is not a crime. If you have been charged with assault, murder, or manslaughter in self-defense, while protecting your life or the lives of others, you are innocent, and The Law Ladies can help you prove it.

Is Georgia a Stand Your Ground State?

In short, yes. Closely related to the Castle Doctrine, the core premise behind this law is that an individual who is being threatened by another individual’s use of force does not have a duty to retreat before they can use violent or deadly force against the assailant.

Does Georgia Have Stand Your Ground Laws?

There is some nuance to this, however, and our attorneys have seen first-hand how popular knowledge about this law can be prone to oversimplification and dangerous misconceptions. Because of this, fully understanding the law and how it may apply in court is essential.

Georgia Stand Your Ground Statute

This Georgia’s statute is outlined in GA Code 16-3-21. This self-defense law states the following:

“A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force; however, a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent commission of a forcible felony.”

GA Stand Your Ground Code, Explained

Basically, there are two factors that need to exist in order for the use of violent or deadly force to be justified:

  • The threat to either the defendant or another individual must be imminent; and
  • The defendant should reasonably believe that such force is essential to avoid death or physical injury to themselves or another individual.

In other words, if the defendant argues self-defense or defense of others to justify their actions, then the defendant should establish that their reasonable belief that using immediate force was necessary.

While this may seem simple enough, determining what is ‘reasonable’ can prove complicated. As experts in Georgia’s ‘stand your ground’ legal code, Law Ladies Jasmine Barber and Ashley McMahan can fight for your right to defend yourself and argue that your actions were justified.

Stand Your Ground Law & Criminal Trespass Warning in Georgia

It’s often believed that Georgia’s criminal trespass laws are closely linked with Georgia’s ‘stand your ground’ laws. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If someone trespasses on your property, that does not immediately mean you can use force toward them. This premise does not change if the trespasser has ignored a criminal trespass warning on your property. Trespassing is always illegal, but it should not be a death sentence, so you should always call the police if you notice a trespasser instead of escalating a non-violent situation with violence.

If the trespasser is behaving violently, however, this premise changes completely. In most situations like this, you do have a right to attack. If you used violent or deadly force in self-defense against a violent trespasser and are facing criminal charges, please contact our attorneys immediately.

Can I Shoot on My Property in Georgia?

Under the above premises, you cannot shoot someone just because they are on your property. There must be an active threat toward your life or another’s life in order for any use of force, especially deadly force, to be justified.
 
If you have been charged with a violent crime while defending yourself, the jury will need to determine whether your fears were ones that a reasonable individual would have likewise had and that type of force used reasonably fit the situation. Since there is no universal standard for what is reasonable, this is entirely subjective. The jury will take a look at the specific circumstances of the case and determine whether your decision to use deadly force was justified.
 
Understanding the exact circumstances that led to the attack can be difficult, however, especially in murder or manslaughter cases where the only other witness is no longer alive. As your attorneys, The Law Ladies will utilize their extensive resources to gather evidence that can support your reasonable self-defense argument. If it is proven that your decision to shoot was justified to protect yourself and/or others, then you will most likely be acquitted of the charged crime under Georgia’s self-defense laws.

Can You Shoot Someone on Your Property in Georgia?

If the jury discovers that your actions were not those of a reasonable person, then the defense of self or others is not warranted. However, your attorney will most likely be able to tell you if this is not possible before your case goes to trial.
 
There are two common scenarios that we look out for in which an individual’s use of deadly force is not justified:

  • If the defendant was the initial aggressor; or
  • If they committed, attempted to commit, or fled from the scene after the commission or attempted commission of a felony.

 
Even if you believe your situation falls under one of these circumstances, you may still have a defense that can reduce or drop your charges. Please reach out to our criminal attorneys in Atlanta to schedule a consultation.

Contact an Attorney About GA Stand Your Ground Laws

Navigating the legal system as a defendant, especially after a violent crime accusation, can be frustrating. Even if your use of force was warranted to protect yourself or others, attempting to prove it isn’t always easy. You do not have to go through this alone. The Law Ladies are on your side.
 
Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is not just about going to trial; it’s about having somebody who knows your side of the story and wants to fight for you. When you reach out to The Law Ladies, we will do everything in our power to listen to your story and protect your innocence. However, time is of the essence. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and begin building a strong defense strategy.
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