Trayvon Martin rapidly became a household name after he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated Florida community. The police did not to arrest the shooter at the time nor charge him with a felony in the shooting death of Martin, based at least in part on the self defense protections of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.
North Carolina also has a Stand Your Ground law. It is relatively new – lawmakers added it on to the Castle Doctrine just last year and it just became effective in December. Under the Stand Your Ground statute, there is no longer a duty to retreat from a place that you have a legal right to be before using deadly force to protect yourself.
Self defense is considered an affirmative defense – meaning, that what is being accused or charged did happen, but there is a reason why you should not be criminally punished. North Carolina’s Stand Your Ground law allows you to defend:
- Your family
- Your home
- Your car
To a certain extent, the law also allows you to defend others who are unrelated to you as well as other property not listed above. If you’ve been charged with a crime, your Raleigh criminal defense attorney can help determine whether the Stand Your Ground law is a usable defense in your case.
For many throughout North Carolina, Stand Your Ground was a welcome change in protecting would-be victims of crime. But, based on the recent Florida shooting, some North Carolina lawmakers are considering changing the self defense statute again. Whether the Stand Your Ground law is being applied correctly in the Trayvon Martin case remains to be seen.
Source: ABC 11 Eyewitness News, “Lawmakers consider changes to ‘Stand Your Ground’,” Joel Brown, March 27, 2012