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Is there a duty to retreat in California?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In all states, you’re allowed to defend yourself. You have a right to do so, even if you have to use force. If you genuinely believe that your life is in danger, you can often even use deadly force – such as using a firearm.

However, there are states in which you are supposed to attempt to avoid that altercation. If it’s possible to retreat, you do have a duty to retreat. You have to try to leave the situation without violence. Only when you determine that this would be impossible can you use physical violence. Do you have this type of restriction in California?

There is no duty to retreat

California does have a “stand your ground” law, and there is not a duty to retreat. As long as you are legally allowed to be in the location, you don’t have to leave or avoid an altercation. You can simply do whatever it takes to protect yourself. As long as you’re not the aggressor, then you have the ability to defend yourself without first, having to leave.

That does not mean that you won’t face legal charges. For one thing, even if you use self-defense properly, you still may be arrested and charged until this can be shown. Additionally, the police often do not know what happened when they arrive at the scene of such an event. They may simply arrest everyone who is involved and sort it out later, which is when you need to show them that you were simply defending yourself.

But, even if you adhere to the law, you can see how things can still get complicated. It’s important to get legal help to know exactly what steps to take to show that you were following the law and to defend your rights.