Criminal Defense Attorneys
Flint, Michigan

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What Are Michigan's Self-Defense Laws?

Michigan man holds gun in self-defense

Were you charged with a crime over an act of self-defense? We can help.

When your health and safety are threatened by violence, you have a right to use self-defense.

Michigan is a "stand your ground" state, which further solidifies your right to defend yourself. Under certain circumstances, this includes the use of lethal force. However, not every act of preservation is considered self-defense under the law. It's not fair, but sometimes those who fight back get charged with a crime like assault or manslaughter.

If you were charged with a crime over an act of self-defense, contact Manley & Manley to learn more about your potential legal options and how the self-defense strategy applies to your case. We are based in Flint and offer free case evaluations to potential criminal defense clients.

Here's what else you should know about Michigan self-defense laws.

Stand Your Ground Law, MI

"Stand Your Ground" (SYG) was established in Michigan's Self-Defense Act of 2006. Most states have SYG laws, except a dozen or so, mainly in the Northeast. Basically, SYG says that if you are being attacked or are about to be attacked, you do not have a "duty to retreat," if possible, before using lethal force to defend yourself.

For "stand your ground" to be an effective self-defense strategy, a handful of conditions must apply:

  • You were not committing a crime at the time of the incident.
  • The incident happened in a location where you had a lawful right to be.
  • You "honestly and reasonably" believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault to yourself or another person.

Non-lethal self-defense

You are legally allowed to use non-lethal force to defend yourself or others if:

  • You were not committing a crime at the time of the incident.
  • The incident happened in a location where you had a lawful right to be.
  • You were afraid for the health and safety of yourself or others.

Typically, you cannot claim self-defense over a physical confrontation with police and other law enforcement.

Castle doctrine

Michigan observes the so-called "castle doctrine," which may sound like it gives people the right to use force to defend their "castles," but that is not quite the case. The doctrine gives you the right to use force to protect those within your "castle." Put another way, you can use self-defense to protect yourself and others, but not property. You can use non-lethal or lethal force to stop an intruder from illegally entering your home, vehicle, or business.

When using a self-defense strategy, experience matters.

It may seem obvious that you were defending yourself from a serious threat at the time of a confrontation. But law enforcement and the courts might not see it that way. Claiming self-defense against criminal charges can be difficult. It requires an experienced criminal defense attorney with a winning track record to use this strategy to get results.

Take the castle doctrine, for example. Establishing that a person was sincerely trying to enter your property illegally can be complicated. Someone aggressively banging on your door may or may not be considered a legitimate threat to your safety. Depending on the details of the situation, a court could find that the threat of danger was not great enough to justify the use of self-defense.

No one should have to face charges for defending themselves and others from an attack. But sometimes, even the righteous must be defended. A conviction for assault can significantly alter your life. You might lose additional personal freedoms while serving years in prison. Working with a skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer is crucial because there is so much at stake.

At Manley & Manley, our criminal defense lawyers are sharks who know how to effectively use self-defense strategies against charges like assault, aggravated assault, and manslaughter, among others. Our leading criminal defense law firm is based in Flint and serves all of Michigan. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation if you want to learn more.

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