Duty to Retreat

Definition - What does Duty to Retreat mean?

Duty to retreat refers to a person's obligation to retreat when threatened physically if there is a legitimate way to safely retreat. Duty to retreat forbids the use of deadly force when applicable. However, due to the castle doctrine, a person typically has no duty to retreat when inside their own home.

Justipedia explains Duty to Retreat

The laws surrounding duty to retreat vary from state to state. Many states that do not support duty to retreat instead have "stand-your-ground" laws. Stand-your-ground laws authorize deadly force when specific threats occur, regardless of whether a jury believes that the person could have safely retreated.

The limits of deadly force in dangerous situations involving self-defense can be very complicated. This is because it can be difficult to tell (at times) how much danger a person is actually in.

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