“Use Of Force In Defense Of Persons”
Facts vs. Opinion
When it comes to the legal use of deadly force, many people add in what they’ve heard, what they think or even offer their own very uninformed options. It is sad to say, but eventually this misinformation works its way into the mainstream beliefs as to what is legally required before you can use deadly force.
Here is the Missouri State “Use of force in defense of persons” Statute 563.031. 2, 3
2. A person may not use deadly force upon another person under the circumstances specified in subsection 1 of this section unless:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself, or herself or her unborn child, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony;
(2) Such force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle lawfully occupied by such person; or
(3) Such force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter private property that is owned or leased by an individual claiming a justification of using protective force under this section.
3. A person does not have a duty to retreat from a dwelling, residence, or vehicle where the person is not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining. A person does not have a duty to retreat from private property that is owned or leased by such individual.
Statute 563.031 clearly establishes:
- An attacker does not have to have a weapon before you can use deadly force.
- You do not have to warn an attacker, before you use deadly force.
- You do not have to fire a warning shot, before you use deadly force.
- You do not have to shoot to wound or try to shoot the weapon out of the attacker’s hand.
Furthermore, in August of 2007/2010 Missouri implemented a “Castle Doctrine” as part of their legal definition describing when you can use deadly force. Many people thought Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” was the same as other States. The fact is Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” is not the same “Castle Doctrine” which exists in other states like Florida or Texas. Those States implemented “Castle Doctrines” with “Stand your ground” concepts. This concept means you do not have a duty to retreat anywhere. If deadly force is justified, you can stand your ground and defend yourself or another.
Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” did not eliminate the legal requirement to retreat “anywhere” before you use deadly force. Statute 563.031, division 3 documents; “ you do not have a duty to retreat from a dwelling, residence, vehicle or private property that is owned or leased by you”; everywhere else you still have a legal duty to retreat (i.e. public building, street, sidewalk, park).
Whenever people start talking, ask them if they have ever read any of the relevant State Statutes, or which legal case law precedence are they using to base their statements. If they say they have never read the Statutes, and/or they have no legal case law precedence, just thank them for their time and change the subject or walk away.
If you use deadly force in violation of Missouri Statute 563.031, you can go to jail and be financially destroyed in a civil suit. When it comes to the legal use of deadly force, get the facts and evidence, because ignorance of the law is no defense.