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A stand-your-ground law (sometimes called "line in the sand" or "no duty to retreat" law) establishes a right by which a person may defend one's self or others (right of self-defense) against threats or perceived threats, even to the point of applying lethal force, regardless of whether safely retreating from the situation might have been possible. Such a law typically states that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place where they have a lawful right to be (though this varies from state to state) and that they may use any level of force if they reasonably believe the threat rises to the level of being an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm and/or death.
The laws as described in this article are mainly focused on American state legislation adopted since 2005. Prior to that date, states tended to follow English common law which has a stand-your-ground law rooted in the concept of using 'reasonable force' in self-defence.
Stand-your-ground laws in the United States were created to provide a defense in criminal cases. In Dawkins v. State (2011) the court describes "[T]he 'stand your ground' law... provide that a person has a right to expect absolute safety in a place they have a right to be, and may use deadly force to repel an intruder... for a person to be justified in using deadly force, the person must not be 'engaged in unlawful activity".Justification using stand-your-ground laws may be limited when "[the defendant] was engaged in illegal activities and not entitled to benefit from provisions of the 'stand your ground' law". This may be the case even if the illegal conduct the defendant was engaged in had nothing to do with the threat which instigated his use of deadly force. For instance, as is the case in Dawkins v. State, using an illegally obtained weapon in self defense to avoid being robbed and beaten is not justified by this law.The castle doctrine is a common law doctrine stating that persons have no duty to retreat in their home, or "castle", and may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend their property, person, or another. Outside of the abode, however, a person has a duty to retreat, if possible, before using deadly force. Castle doctrine and "stand-your-ground" laws are acceptable defenses for people who have been charged with criminal homicide.At common law, self-defense claims are not valid if the defendant could have safely retreated from danger (duty to retreat). The castle doctrine is an exception to this. It gives immunity from liability to individuals who acted in self-defense in the home even if they could have safely retreated from the threat and failed to do so. The duty to retreat is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions that a threatened person cannot stand one's ground and apply lethal force in self-defense, but must retreat to a place of safety instead. Deadly force or lethal force is force with the intent of serious bodily injury or death to another person. In most jurisdictions it is only accepted under conditions of extreme necessity and last resort.

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  1. RicInOR

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