What Are ‘Stand Your Ground Laws?’

January 1, 2023 | By Shane Phelps Law
What Are ‘Stand Your Ground Laws?’

Among self-defense laws, “stand our ground” laws or the principle of the “castle doctrine” are among the most controversial. This type of law applies most often to homeowners protecting their properties from unlawful entry. Essentially, if there is an intruder, the homeowner may use lethal force to protect themselves. It is important to note that states that support the castle doctrine have their own stipulations. Keep reading for more information.

Understanding the Castle Doctrine

Self-defense and stand your ground laws are controversial topics that have sparked debates across the United States. These laws grant individuals the right to use force, including deadly force, in self-defense situations without the obligation to retreat.


Historically, these laws emerged in the 2000s as a response to the perception that individuals had a duty to retreat from an attacker in most cases. Laws like the castle doctrine remove the duty to retreat and grant individuals the legal right to defend themselves with force regardless of the situation. The controversy surrounding the stand your ground law is that it appears to encourage deadly force even when there is no clear threat.

Different states have varying laws regarding self-defense and stand your ground defense. As of June 2021, 25 states have stand your ground laws including Texas. In some states, the law may only cover a person's home or property, while others extend to public spaces as well. States like New York and Massachusetts have no stand your ground laws, and individuals must attempt to retreat before using force.

What To Do When There Is an Intruder

If you find yourself in a situation that could potentially involve self-defense, the first thing to remember is to remain calm. You must assess the situation, evaluate if escape or retreat is possible, and identify any weapons or objects that could help you. If you feel that you need to use force to defend yourself, you must be able to articulate the elements of self-defense - the reasonable belief of an imminent threat, the proportionality of force to that threat, and the absence of other options - if the case goes to court.


In conclusion, understanding the implications of self-defense and stand your ground laws is crucial. While stand your ground laws can provide a legal basis for self-defense, they can also encourage the use of deadly force in situations that do not warrant it. Therefore, we must be aware of the laws in our state and our rights and responsibilities as citizens to be better prepared to protect ourselves without infringing on the rights of others.

For legal guidance regarding self-defense, contact Shane Phelps Law.