In Minnesota, under the MN Stand Your Ground law, individuals have the right to employ force in defense of themselves when facing an imminent threat of bodily harm or injury in specific situations.
Minnesota’s self-defense statutes outline the circumstances in which force can be legally used for self-protection.
Familiarizing yourself with the MN Stand Your Ground law can provide you with insight into your rights and obligations.
In this regard, the Saint Paul criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka provide comprehensive information regarding Minnesota’s self-defense laws.
Overview of St. Paul, Minnesota Self-Defense Laws
Self-defense is one of the most commonly used defenses in cases involving assault, battery, or other crimes of violence.
To prove self-defense in Minnesota, an accused person must show:
- The alleged victim was the aggressor,
- An accused person had a real or perceived fear of harm to their person,
- The accused person’s belief was reasonable,
- The accused person did not use aggression or provoke the attack, and
- There was no reasonable opportunity to retreat or escape.
A claim of self-defense has some important limitations.
A person’s use of force in self-defense must appear reasonable to a judge or jury.
Further, a person may use only the amount of force necessary to prevent the attack or to protect themselves from harm.
The amount of force used in self-defense must be proportionate to the threat posed by the victim.
Duty to Retreat
Before a person can use self-defense outside of their own home, Minnesota law imposes a duty to retreat.
If a person is facing a threat of bodily injury or harm, he or she must first attempt to retreat to a safe location.
The concept of the retreat includes any attempt to de-escalate or otherwise avoid violent confrontation.
However, if the retreat is not available or the person cannot do so safely, he or she may then use force or otherwise act in self-defense.
In addition, Minnesota allows a person to use deadly force only as a last resort.
You may use deadly force outside the home only if there is no reasonable opportunity to retreat and you reasonably believe that you face imminent danger of great bodily harm.
A person who uses deadly force in self-defense may still face criminal charges, including murder if he or she had an opportunity to retreat.
No Stand-Your-Ground Law in Minnesota
Stand-your-ground laws remove the duty to retreat.
If a state has a stand-your-ground law, a person may use force, including deadly force, without first attempting to retreat from the danger.
Unlike many other states, Minnesota does not have a stand-your-ground law.
In Minnesota, a person must first attempt to escape a dangerous threat before resorting to force.
Although Minnesota does not have a stand-your-ground law, the state still applies the castle doctrine.
This doctrine removes the duty to retreat if a person is threatened in his or her own home.
Minnesota courts have decided that a person should not be required to retreat from his or her own home.
Thus, in certain circumstances, you may use force, including deadly force, in self-defense when threatened in your own home.
The castle doctrine, like other forms of self-defense, is available only in certain circumstances and is subject to limitations.
When You Should Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are accused of a crime or were involved in a violent confrontation, you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney to represent you.
Minnesota Self-defense laws depend on a variety of circumstances and a complex set of rules and legal definitions.
Understanding self-defense laws requires experience and familiarity with the criminal justice system.
Cases involving self-defense often deal with serious crimes that carry potentially severe consequences.
Even if you have a legitimate self-defense claim, if you fail to meet the legal requirements and provide sufficient evidence, you risk losing your case.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney will improve your chances of establishing self-defense and winning your case.
Contact a Qualified Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Our dedicated team has extensive experience defending our clients in criminal cases.
We will thoroughly investigate your case, help you understand your legal options, and determine the best course of action.
We know how difficult this process can be, and we will support you every step of the way.
You might also be interested in:
- Self Defense in Minnesota
- What Are the Minnesota Knife Laws?
- Understanding First Degree Assault in Minnesota
Where You Can Find Our St. Paul Office
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.