Jul 20, 2023

Understanding Missouri’s Stand Your Ground Law


Whether you own a home or rent in the Show Me State, you want to feel secure when you go to bed at night. You also want to enjoy everything St. Louis has to offer without worrying about your personal safety when you are out on the town. If you encounter someone who wants to do you harm, you should understand Missouri’s stand your ground law. 

Is Missouri A Stand Your Ground State?

Yes. Since January 2017, individuals have had a legally recognized right to stand their ground in the face of a deadly threat. As such, if you defend yourself with deadly force, you should not face criminal charges. If prosecutors do charge you with a crime, though, you may be able to use the stand your ground law as a defense to crimes such as murder or gun charges

Missouri’s Stand Your Ground Law Considerations

There are several factors that are taken into account when facing charges related to standing your ground in Missouri.

1. Your location matters  

To trigger legal protections under the stand your ground law, you must be in a place you have authorization to occupy. This place may be either a private or public one. Still, if you are trespassing or otherwise do not have the right to be somewhere, the 2018 Missouri stand your ground law probably does not apply. 

2. You do not have a duty to retreat  

The crux of the stand your ground law is that you do not have a duty to retreat. Provided you reasonably fear your life is in danger, you do not have to try to run away from the situation. Instead, you can use deadly force to protect yourself. 

3. You can protect others  

The stand your ground law in Missouri does not only extend to you. If you have a reasonable belief someone else’s life is in imminent danger, the law allows you to use force to protect that person. You do not want to misread the situation, though. 

With some luck, you may never have to worry about using deadly force to protect yourself or others from the actions of an assailant. Nonetheless, before you find yourself in a sketchy situation, you should understand the intricacies of the stand your ground law.

An experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney can help

Using stand your ground law is not a guarantee for success in your Missouri case. It can be one of several factors that result in a favorable outcome. A criminal defense attorney will help create the strongest case possible for your case.