In California, you have the right to defend yourself, even if you’re not inside of your home at the time. The issue is dealt with in California’s self-defense laws which are more popularly referred to as Stand-Your-Ground laws.
What the Stand-Your-Ground laws do is provide you with a way to hold tight and defend yourself from an attack. The law most commonly come into play when a person encounters a burglar inside their home, but they also come into play in parking lots, parks, lawns, public buildings, and even on the road.
The idea behind the Stand-Your-Ground laws is that you should be able to defend yourself without having to worry about criminal prosecution.
It’s important to understand that the Stand-Your-Ground laws don’t give you free rein to do whatever you want. You are still expected to use some common sense and to not use unnecessary force in response to a minor concern.
In order to use the Stand-Your-Ground laws as self-defense, a few things have to happen.
- You have to show that you could reasonably believe that your health, safety, or life was in danger during that specific moment
- You had to genuinely believe that the degree of force you used in response to the threat was appropriate in the situation
- You have to prove that you didn’t use an excessive amount of force given the nature of the threat
There have been cases of people killing a perceived threat. Whenever this happens, there are always questions about whether the degree of force used was really necessary.
The way California’s self-defense laws are written, you have the right to used deadly force against anyone who you feel intends to kill or seriously harm you. Examples of this include: