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Colorado Stand Your Ground Laws in 2024 (Legally Explained)

As of January 2022, Colorado is not considered a traditional “stand your ground” state; however, it does have laws that allow for the use of force in self-defense under certain circumstances. Colorado law includes provisions related to both the duty to retreat and the use of force in self-defense.
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What is a "Stand Your Ground" Law?

A "stand your ground" law is a legal principle that allows people to use force -- up to and including deadly force -- to defend themselves from a threat without a duty to retreat. In states with stand-your-ground laws, people are legally permitted to stand their ground and use force to protect themselves, their property, or others when they are threatened with great bodily harm.

Also Read: Is Pepper Spray Legal in Colorado?

Stand Your Ground Laws Explained

Key features of a stand your ground laws include:

  • No Duty to Retreat - As opposed to the standard self-defense doctrine, which requires people to try and retreat from a threat before using force, stand your ground laws negate the duty to retreat. People in these jurisdictions are not required to try and escape or avoid confrontation prior to using force.
  • Use of Force - In most cases, stand your ground laws allow people to use force if they reasonably believe it is necessary to protect themselves or others from great bodily harm.
  • Location - Stand your ground laws may apply in a variety of locations, including public spaces, private property, and some workplaces. The laws are not limited to a person's home (as with the "castle doctrine").
  • Reasonable Belief - The use of force applied in stand your ground cases must be based on a reasonable belief that there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. The person using force must perceive the threat as immediate and have a genuine fear for their safety.

Also Read: Can you Carry a Gun While Hiking in Colorado?

Self Defense Laws in Colorado

Under Colorado law, residents have a:

  • Duty to Retreat - Colorado has a "duty to retreat" provision, meaning people are required to attempt to retreat from a threat before using force in self-defense, especially if they are outside their own home or property.
  • "Make My Day" Law - Colorado has a specific law called the "Make My Day" law, which involves the use of deadly force in one's own home. The law allows the use of deadly force if a person reasonably believes an intruder is unlawfully entering or has entered their dwelling, and they reasonably believe the intruder intends to commit a crime above and in addition to the uninvited entry.

Colorado law requires individuals to attempt to retreat from threats before using force in self-defense, except within their own homes, where the "Make My Day" law permits the use of deadly force against intruders believed to pose a criminal threat.

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