Minnesota Law 609.06, the state`s primary self-defense law, allows the use of reasonable force to defend your property. However, the key word is “reasonable.” The level of force used must be commensurate with the perceived threat. An example of disproportionate or inappropriate force could be shooting at an unarmed person who is just walking through your yard. But you have to stop shooting when the threat is eliminated, even if the intruder is still alive. George Zimmerman used Florida`s “Stand Your Ground” law when he killed Trayvon Martin, claiming he felt threatened. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 25 states currently have “Stand Your Ground” laws. Most of these states are Southern, but the specifics of laws may vary from state to state and states may apply laws differently. Florida has the strictest “Stand Your Ground” laws in the country. Florida`s law has garnered considerable attention over the years, most notably with the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. Although Zimmerman was charged with Martin`s death, he was eventually acquitted under Florida`s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws. A: Minnesota has a version of the castle doctrine.
Under state law, a person is not required to withdraw from their own home and it is permissible to use lethal force, including shooting an intruder, to prevent a crime from happening inside the home. Murder justified by the use of a firearm is legal in most states under the castle doctrine, which states that “a man`s house is his castle.” According to this doctrine, an individual has the right to defend himself if he feels threatened by serious bodily harm or attempts to prevent a crime. In Minnesota, this doctrine applies to everyone, but there is a “duty to retire” law that states that a person must stop shooting once the threat is eliminated. If the shooting continues, the shooter can be charged with murder under the retirement obligation. Self-defense becomes murder at some point. A: Although Minnesota does not impose a “duty to retreat” in your own home, the use of force in self-defense must be reasonable. The use of a firearm against a person would be considered a use of lethal force. Minnesota regulations state that lethal force is appropriate and lawful: “if necessary to resist or prevent a crime that the actor has reasonable grounds to believe will expose the actor or another person to grievous bodily harm or death, or to prevent the commission of a crime at the actor`s place of residence.” Minnesota Statutes §609.065. While the use of lethal force in self-defense is better protected in your own home than elsewhere, that doesn`t mean you can`t be prosecuted if you shoot someone, even a burglar, in your own home. A few years ago, a man was convicted of doing just that in horrific circumstances.
It`s great that you`re studying law. A better knowledge of the law can help you protect yourself legally. “Stand firm” is the colloquial term for laws that allow you to use force in self-defense without having to withdraw first. Not all U.S. states have such a law. In states that don`t have a “Stand Your Ground” law, you must first try to escape danger before you can legally use force in self-defense. Please note, however, that Minnesota law only covers you in “your place of residence.” You can`t shoot through a door or window when the burglar is outside your home stealing your collection of garden gnomes, no matter how valuable they are to you. In fact, in Minnesota, you can shoot — even kill — an intruder if you feel threatened with major bodily harm or if you`re trying to prevent a crime. If you fear for your own safety, the safety of others, or your property, you can use self-defense to justify actions that would normally constitute crimes.
There are differences between state laws that outline the circumstances in which you can use force to defend yourself. Some states have “Stand Your Ground” laws that don`t require you to back down in front of an attacker before you can use lethal force. Other states follow the variant of the “castle doctrine,” which requires you to retire unless someone invades your home (this includes your car or workplace in some states). But even a “make my day” state won`t allow a shooter to do what Smith says he did: keep shooting until the intruders are dead. In Minnesota, a person is legally allowed to shoot or even kill an intruder who breaks into their home and threatens the person with serious bodily harm or death. However, the person must stop shooting when the threat is eliminated, even if the intruder is injured and still alive on the ground. In other states, self-defense laws go even further than Minnesota`s self-defense laws. These states have “stand your ground” laws and no “obligation to withdraw”. In general, “Stand Your Ground” laws allow people to respond to threats or violence without fear of prosecution. In Stand Your Ground states, a person is not required to withdraw once the risk of harm has been eliminated.
“. if it is necessary to oppose a criminal offence which the actor has reasonable grounds to believe will expose the actor or any other person to serious bodily harm or death, or to prevent the commission of an offence at the actor`s place of residence. Minnesota is not a self-governing state. Rather, it is a duty to withdraw the state, which means you must withdraw from confrontation if possible. The state does not have a castle law per se, but it recognizes the principles of doctrine because Minnesota law allows you to use lethal force, including shooting an intruder, to prevent a crime from happening in your home. A Minnesota man told police he feared two teenagers who broke into his home had a gun when he shot them on Thanksgiving Day. This is the worst-case scenario you hope you never have to face. A thousand questions come to mind, if you even invent thought. So what if you live in Minnesota and someone breaks into your home while you`re there, do you meet them on your way home? While you hoped there would be a peaceful end to the situation, what would happen if you ended up shooting the intruder? Could you face charges? Would you ever be able to own a gun again? Would you end up behind bars or prosecuted for assault or even wrongful homicide? What if it was an accident? It is already legal to shoot and kill an intruder in your home, yard or garage if threatened. While Minnesota and other states have a “duty to withdraw” and “stand firm” laws regarding the use of firearms in self-defense, there are laws that can play a role in these shooting cases. For example, if a person uses a firearm to defend themselves outside their home, illegal possession of a firearm can affect the outcome of the shooting. Most states require permits to legally carry a firearm. If a person does not have a transportation permit and shoots someone, even if they are in self-defence, they could be charged with grievous bodily harm.
Understanding state-specific laws regarding justifying murder through the use of a firearm can protect a person from being charged with a crime. Gun owners in all states should know and understand the state`s self-defense laws. In Little Falls, Smith may have felt threatened when two young men broke into his home. And seemed to boast of having made “a good clean final shot” when he killed Haile Kifer, 18, after killing Nicholas Brady, 17. In addition, certain types of firearms are prohibited in Minnesota, including machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, and firearms whose serial numbers have been changed or removed. Self-defense laws in 24 states go further than Minnesota. This is not a “duty to retreat” – but a “stand your stand” or a “make my day”. “Make my day”, as in Clint Eastwood`s famous line.
Situations where a person can use appropriate force against individuals: Stories of home burglaries are almost a nighttime event in the daily news, but the story doesn`t always have to have an unfortunate ending. People have the right to protect themselves and their homes, and they should not fear the consequences as long as they follow the letter of the law. Created by FindLaw`s team of writers and legal writers| Last updated September 12, 2018 Note: State laws may always change due to the passage of new laws, decisions in higher courts (including federal decisions), voting initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most up-to-date information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to review the state laws you are seeking. If they approach you or threaten you in any way with a weapon of any kind, it is also a crime. You don`t need to wait for the attack or burglary to protect yourself. But self-defense becomes murder at a very specific moment. This would have extended the doctrine of the castle beyond a house – to cars, RVs, boats – even tents. Smith admitted to investigators that he “fired more shots than he needed.” Reading the relevant laws is a natural starting point for conducting legal research.