Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Kentucky’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Explained

STAND GROUNDLEXINGTON, Ky. (7/16/13) – Recent debates surrounding the nationally publicized George Zimmerman trial have shined a spotlight on the array of laws pertaining to self-defense, particularly “stand your ground” laws.

Kentucky is one of more than 20 states that have enacted laws that specifically affirm a person’s right to “stand their ground” when they are defending themselves from an unlawful threat, removing the duty to retreat from the situation that is present in other self-defense laws.  

Greg Coulson, public defender for Bourbon County, explained what the law means for residents of the Commonwealth.

“Stand your ground is a change in the self-defense defense,” he said. “You always have a right to self-defense, but under the common law if you had the ability to run away or retreat in full safety without risking being injured by the person who is attacking you then you have a duty to that. You have what was called the duty to retreat. The stand your ground law changes that standard. It says if you are in any place that you are legally allowed to be, you don't have a duty to retreat.”

In cases where the “duty to retreat” comes into play, it is up to the jury to establish whether someone had the ability to run away.

“It's a tough thing,” said Coulson. “If someone is standing there with a knife and ready to knife you, can you really turn your back and run away without being concerned that the person is just going to run you down and stab you in the back? It's hard to think of a situation where you can be attacked with deadly force and you have the ability to retreat in complete safety.”

Coulson said there are two parts to the self-defense statute in Kentucky, which is distinct from the “stand your ground” law. In all 50 states, defending yourself or others from serious injury or death can be used as a defense in a murder or assault trial. However in Kentucky, acting in self-defense can make a person immune from being prosecuted in the first place if there was a reasonable belief that someone would imminently cause serious bodily injury or death.

The statute has special protections for people who are in their home. If a person is entering or unlawfully present in your home, the law automatically considers that a reason to believe the intruder is going to cause physical injury or death. In other words, if you are in your home you do not have to wait to be attacked to “stand your ground.”

Coulson said this prevents homeowners from having to go through the hardships of a criminal prosecution.* He added that Kentucky’s immunity statute is much more important than the “stand your ground” laws in most cases.

“What it does is it removes a barrier that people have when they have to use physical force in order to defend themselves,” he said. “It's one less hurdle for somebody who used deadly force or physical force to overcome when they're trying to prove they weren't out acting maliciously and they were trying to save their lives, or the lives of another person.”

*Clarification: The law states you have a right to defend your residence. A landlord would not be protected even though he owned the home, it would have to be his residence to avoid prosecution. He would be protected under the “stand your ground” law, however.

David Gillum
SurfKY News

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

DCPS to Celebrate National Volunteer Week

OWENSBORO, Ky. (4/16/14) — The Daviess County Public Schools district is celebrating National Public School Volunteer… Read More

Cairo Elementary Plans School Events

HENDERSON, Ky. (4/16/14) — The following events are planned for students who will be enrolled in kindergarten during… Read More
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 16, 2014 18233

UPDATE- Sheriff's Office Following Leads…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 14, 2014 6041

U.S. Bank Hanson on Lockdown Due to Bomb…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 14, 2014 5155

Pedestrian Killed During Two Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 13, 2014 4374

One Dead in Two Vehicle Head On Collision

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 15, 2014 2890

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 14, 2014 5155

Pedestrian Killed During Two Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 13, 2014 4374

One Dead in Two Vehicle Head On Collision

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 15, 2014 2890

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 2523

Multi-Agency Investigation Leads to Drug…

in Top Stories by Lori Blakeley
April 13, 2014 1834

One Injured in ATV Accident in Dawson…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 14, 2014 1861

Grow Garden Grow - Spring Has Sprung

in News by Barbara Cecil Russ
April 15, 2014 1307

Owensboro Police Investigate Auto Accident

in News by Michael Hathaway
April 15, 2014 1022

Owensboro Parks Offers Tennis Lessons

in News by Britni Bunn
April 13, 2014 951

Two Daviess County Men Busted for…

in Top Stories by Scott Gibbs
April 14, 2014 615

Owensboro Health Hosts Tours for…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 13, 2014 2842

Muhlenberg 4-H is Buzzing

in Top Stories by Janie Culton
April 16, 2014 2355

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 14, 2014 2276

MCC Staff Shares Good News with…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1631

'Walk Right Back' An Everly Brother's…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1480

Local MCHS Students Train at Job Corps

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03