When many people think of the Stand Your Ground law, they often think about Florida. This law in the Sunshine State was an issue of great debate during the 2013 trial of George Zimmerman after he shot Trayvon Martin. However, Florida’s not the only state that has a Stand Your Ground law. Other states do as well, including Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground Law
Oklahoma enacted its Stand Your Ground law in 2006. The law states that if a person feels as though their personal safety is in jeopardy, they may use force to defend against a threat. The law does not require citizens to try and retreat from the situation before inflicting the deadly force. This element is required in states that don’t have a Stand Your Ground law, but do allow the defense of self-defense.
In order for the Stand Your Ground law to apply in Oklahoma, the person that uses deadly force to protect themselves must be in a place they have a lawful right to be. The Stand Your Ground law allows someone to use force to protect themselves, or someone else, such as their child.
The law in Oklahoma also requires someone to be in a place where they can expect absolute safety. This would include someone’s home, but may not include a known hangout of a gang, for example. Due to this requirement of the law, in 2018, Oklahoma added churches to their Stand Your Ground law.
Stand Your Ground Is Different than Self-Defense
It’s easy to confuse the terms Stand Your Ground and self-defense due to the fact that any force used under Stand Your Ground is a type of self-defense. However, there are differences.
The first is that when self-defense is argued in court, the defendant must show that they tried to retreat from the situation before using deadly force. This is not the case in the Stand Your Ground law.
Most importantly, the Stand your Ground law reverses the burden of proof. When self-defense is used as a defense in court, the defendant must prove that they felt threatened and believed there was imminent harm to their safety. Stand Your Ground, on the other hand, requires the prosecution to prove that you did not feel threatened, or fear for your safety.
Did You Stand Your Ground? Contact an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney Who Can Help
The Stand Your Ground law in Oklahoma does offer defendants more rights in case they are charged with using force against someone, such as in an assault or murder case. However, a criminal defense lawyer in Oklahoma must use this strategy very carefully. If it’s found the Stand Your Ground law did not apply, a person may face charges for murder.
If you protected yourself under Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground law and are now facing charges, contact Banks, Gillett, Gillett, PLLC at (405) 607-4800. We’ll review your case and fight to ensure your rights are upheld in court. We can refute arguments the prosecution makes, and give you your best chance at retaining your freedom. Call us today or fill out our online form for your free case evaluation now.