Is Colorado a “Stand Your Ground” State? See What the Law Says

Rodemer Kane Attorneys at Law

Colorado is not a pure "Stand Your Ground" state, there is no specific stand your ground statute. Colorado law does recognize the right to use force, including deadly force, in self-defense situations, but it does not have a specific standalone "Stand Your Ground" law.

The current stand your ground law in Colorado allows individuals to use this legal principle as a defense if they believe it is necessary to use force, including deadly force, to protect themselves in certain situations without the obligation to retreat.

The Colorado Supreme Court states that if you need to protect yourself or someone else, you're allowed to stand your ground. This means you're not obligated to run away, even if you could find a way to escape.

Using deadly force to protect yourself may lead to serious legal consequences, such as homicide or manslaughter charges, if it results in someone's death. Even if you are found not guilty in a criminal trial, there's a possibility of facing civil lawsuits from the family of the deceased person.

Under the Colorado stand your ground laws, you're allowed to defend yourself, but there are specific rules you must follow.

When is Self-Defense Allowed in Colorado?

According to CRS 18-1-704, you can use force that you believe is necessary to protect yourself or others from a situation involving physical force.

Deadly force is only justified in these three specific situations:

  1. When you believe non-deadly force is not enough, and you have reason to believe you or someone else is in immediate danger of serious harm or death.
  2. When non-deadly force is insufficient, and the aggressor is using or appears about to use physical force during a burglary.
  3. When non-deadly force is inadequate, and the aggressor is carrying out or appears about to carry out a kidnapping, robbery, or sexual assault.

Be aware that there are situations where using physical force is not legally justified in these three situations:

  1. If you provoke someone to use unlawful physical force with the intent to cause harm or death to another person.
  2. If you are the one who started the conflict (unless you withdraw from the fight, express your intention to withdraw, and the other person continues to use or threaten illegal force).
  3. In any situation involving unauthorized "combat by agreement," like a rumble or gang fight.

Remember, these rules are in place to ensure that self-defense is used responsibly and within the bounds of the law. It's important to understand these guidelines to make informed decisions in challenging situations.

What Is the Make My Day Law in Colorado?

In Colorado, the Make My Day law, also known as the "Castle Doctrine," allows individuals to use deadly force to protect themselves or others in their home or occupied vehicle.

If these three conditions are met, the law protects you from both criminal and civil liability:

  1. Breaking In: The law applies if an intruder unlawfully enters your home, which can include places like hotel rooms.
  2. Reasonable Belief: You must have reasonable grounds to believe that the intruder has committed a crime in your dwelling, separate from the intrusion itself. This could be an offense against a person or property.
  3. Potential Physical Force: You should reasonably believe that the intruder might use physical force, even if it's minimal, against someone in the dwelling.

In addition, there is no obligation to retreat under Colorado law before using deadly force for self-defense or defending others in your home. This holds true even if you could escape the situation without harming anyone.

It's worth noting that the Colorado Supreme Court refers to the Make My Day law as the force-against-intruders statute. This law is designed to empower individuals to protect themselves and their property in their own homes.

Is It Legal to Use Deadly Force to Prevent Trespassing in Colorado?

According to CRS 18-1-706, you can use physical force that is appropriate and reasonably necessary to prevent or stop what seems to be either:

  • Trespassing, or
  • An attempted theft, criminal mischief, or criminal tampering involving property.

But there are some conditions. If the property is not a dwelling, you can only use deadly force if:

  • You are acting in self-defense or defense of others, or
  • You reasonably believe that deadly force is needed to prevent what you reasonably believe is an attempted first-degree arson.

So, it's important to understand when deadly force is allowed and only use it when you meet the specific conditions mentioned in Colorado state law.

Understanding the nuances of Colorado's "Stand Your Ground" law is essential, especially if you live in or plan to visit the state. These laws, which govern self-defense and the use of force in dangerous situations, can be complex and have far-reaching implications. If you're in a situation where these laws become relevant, or if you find yourself facing legal challenges related to a self-defense case in Colorado, reaching out to a lawyer who specializes in this area is a smart move. Getting legal advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of Colorado's self-defense laws can be incredibly helpful. They can provide you with the specific insights and guidance needed for your unique situation, ensuring that you navigate any legal challenges with confidence. Remember, in matters as serious as self-defense, having knowledgeable legal support can really make a difference.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Rodemer Kane Attorneys at Law

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