It seems that the claim of self-defense is thrown out so often when people are facing murder charges that it has lost its credibility as a viable defense. Yet if and when you are placed in a position of needing to use force (even lethal force) to defend yourself and/or others, you might question what other alternatives others might say that you have. Many in Memphis have come to us here at The Law Office of Massey McClusky McClusky & Fuchs wondering if the law does indeed designate when lethal force may be justified. If your intent in using such force is facing scrutiny, then you may be happy to know that it does. 

Tennessee has followed the example of other states in enacting a statute known as the “Stand Your Ground” law. Per Section 39-11-611 of the state’s Criminal Offenses Code, you are considered to be justified in using deadly force against an individual who has unlawfully entered your residence, place of business or vehicle if you believe yourself, a family member, friend or visitor is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Such force must be used, however, in response to aggression, and not simply because you believe that person is there to do harm. 

The use of deadly force is not permitted (even in the aforementioned circumstances) if any of the following is true: 

  • The individual against whom you act has a right to be where there
  • The individual is attempting to remove a minor child over whom they have custody
  • The individual is a law enforcement officer performing their duties 
  • You are simultaneously engaged in unlawful activity when the incident occurs

You can learn more about defending yourself against murder charges by continuing to explore our site.