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Does Colorado Have a Make My Day Law? (Protect Your Home!)

Colorado has a “Make My Day” law, which is similar to other states’ Castle Doctrine laws. The law, officially known as the Colorado Homeowner Protection Act, allows residents to use deadly force against intruders who unlawfully enter their homes if they reasonably believe that the intruder intends to commit a crime and use physical force, no matter if it’s a burglary or not.
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How Does Colorado’s “Make My Day” Law Work?

According to SCLG, Colorado’s Make My Day law sets out three key conditions that must be met for you to legally defend yourself against an intruder [1]:

  1. Firstly, the intruder must unlawfully enter a home or dwelling.
  2. Secondly, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the intruder either committed a crime in the home or intends to commit one, other than just the act of intrusion.
  3. Finally, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the intruder poses a threat of physical harm to you or another occupant in the home.

Note that the Make My Day law applies to any home, including RV trailers and hotel rooms. Though it does not include the common area of an apartment building; the intruder would have to unlawfully enter an actual apartment for you as an occupant to be protected under the Make My Day law.

Additionally, there’s no stipulation that the intruder must break in. You are still within your rights to defend yourself against intruders who enter through an unlocked door or open window as an occupant of the home.

Is There a Duty to Retreat in Colorado?

Colorado diverges from the duty to retreat-concept and instead upholds stand-your-ground laws. Essentially, if you’re lawfully present in a particular location, you’re entitled to stand firm against an aggressor and employ force for self-defense. However, it’s crucial to note that this stance contrasts starkly with initiating aggression yourself. In such instances, there’s no obligation to evade a confrontation that you didn’t instigate.

Another key point to keep in mind is that the amount of force that you use needs to be proportionate to the force that you face. For example, you can only use deadly force to defend yourself if you have a genuine fear of death or serious injury.

Should you find yourself detained following an act of self-defense, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with your legal rights and explore all available legal avenues. Understanding the necessary steps to take in this situation is paramount.

Also Read: Colorado Gun Background Checks

What Should I Do if I Use Deadly Force in Self Defense?

In the event that you’re compelled to employ deadly force in self-defense, it’s imperative to promptly seek the guidance of a seasoned attorney. Even if you firmly believe your actions were justified in self-defense, you could still encounter criminal charges and legal repercussions.

An attorney proficient in such matters can furnish you with expert legal counsel, adeptly guide you through the intricate legal proceedings, and safeguard your rights every step of the way. Moreover, they can offer invaluable advice on how to handle interactions with law enforcement, navigate court proceedings, or engage with other involved parties. It’s crucial to recognize that having the right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Colorado’s Stand Your Ground law allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat, even in public spaces. While the law provides additional protection for law-abiding citizens, it’s important to remember that using deadly force can still have serious consequences. If you find yourself in a self-defense situation, it’s important to know your rights and options and to contact an attorney if necessary.

Can You Still Claim Self Defense if You Initiated the Altercation?

If you find yourself as the instigator of a conflict, there are specific steps you must take to potentially claim self-defense:

  1. Step back and disengage from the confrontation to demonstrate your intent to avoid a physical altercation.
  2. Clearly communicate your desire to de-escalate the situation, ensuring the other party understands your intention to prevent a fight.
  3. If despite your efforts to defuse the conflict, the other party persists in attacking or escalating the situation, you may then resort to self-defense.

These three things illustrate how you go from being the person who started the disagreement to someone defending themselves – from aggressor to victim. This allows you to protect yourself if needed.

However, if you’re the individual who initiated the altercation, asserting self-defense is typically not a viable option. This principle is in place to deter individuals from using self-defense as justification for provoking confrontations.

Additionally, it’s crucial to recognize that if you willingly engaged in a physical altercation, invoking self-defense may not be applicable in such circumstances.

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If you or a loved one was involved with these matters, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

References:

  1. https://www.shouselaw.com/co/blog/does-colorado-have-a-make-my-day-law/

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