Defendants who have been charged with a violent crime often rely on their right to protect themselves as a legal defense.
The terms “Castle Doctrine” and “Stand Your Ground” laws are often tossed around in these kinds of cases. Both refer to the laws in various states that are designed to give people who are merely defending themselves, their property or others a safe haven from prosecution.
Does Tennesse have a “Stand Your Ground” law or the Castle Doctrine?
Although the exact words “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” do not appear in Tennessee’s legal code, the concepts are well established and Tennessee recognizes a person’s right to self-defense when their safety is in imminent danger. The Tennessee legal code that deals with self-defense is found in Title 39, Chapter 11, Section 39-11-611.
What’s your duty to retreat in Tennesee?
Many states require people to retreat in the face of danger or intruders whenever possible, instead of resorting to violence. Tennesse does not.
In this state, violent self-defense is permitted whenever you have a reasonable belief that the danger of serious injury or death is real and imminent. In other words, you can’t strike a neighbor because they shouted empty threats at you from over their fence a week earlier and claim self-defense.
In a case where self-defense is an issue, terms like “reasonably” and “imminent” can be 100% subjective — and 100% important to the success of your defense. An attorney who has extensive experience with violent crime cases is best equipped to mount a solid defense that applies Tennessee’s self-defense laws. The better you understand the way that the law works, the better you can contribute to your defense strategy moving forward.