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Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Is there a duty to retreat before acting in self-defense in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Criminal Law |

One of the more common defense strategies utilized by those accused of a violent offense is to assert that they acted for their own protection. Self-defense claims are common responses to allegations of assault or homicide in Colorado. Rather than try to prove they weren’t involved in the incident, defendants will instead try to show that the circumstances rendered their actions legal.

People will assert that they were not the instigators but merely acted in their own defense as part of a self-defense strategy. Fear for one’s personal safety is justification for the use of physical force, possibly up to the use of deadly force.

There are numerous laws that govern an individual’s right to raise a claim of self-defense in criminal court. Certain details about the situation can affect whether or not you can claim that you acted in self-defense. For example, many states impose a duty to retreat before using physical force or deadly force and self-defense. Does Colorado impose a duty to retreat?

The courts have helped uphold the right to self-defense

Colorado is like many other states where lawmakers have specifically implemented stand-your-ground laws. Stand-your-ground laws are addendums to state self-defense statutes that authorize people to use deadly force without first attempting to leave the situation.

The state Supreme Court has also ruled on cases in a way that creates additional protection for those asserting that they acted in self-defense. For example, as recently as 2020, they ruled that non-aggressors have no duty to retreat even when there is a clear line of retreat available.

Provided that the situation otherwise needs the state criteria for a self-defense claim, the person in fear for their own safety can use even lethal force without attempting to flee first.

Self-defense claims require careful preparation

To successfully fight back against allegations of assault or a similar violent offense, a defendant will need to convince the courts that they were in fear for their own physical safety and that other reasonable people would feel the same way in the same circumstances.

Provided that your situation meets this relatively strict standard, a self-defense claim could potentially be the key to avoiding a criminal conviction. Learning more about the laws that apply to violent crimes in Colorado can help you determine the best response in court.