The right to defend yourself is a fundamental aspect of your personal safety and security. Legally, however, it can be a complex issue. In the state of Maryland, as in many other states, self-defense is generally recognized as a legal right. But there are rules that dictate when it’s acceptable and when it’s not. Let’s delve into more detail about self-defense laws in Maryland, and circumstances in which you may or may not be arrested for defending yourself.
Self-Defense Laws in Maryland
According to Maryland law, individuals have a right to protect themselves or others from harm in specific instances. These statutes include the following:
Use of force in self-defense. In Maryland, you’re generally allowed to use reasonable force to protect yourself, your property or another person from the threat of harm. This is commonly referred to as the right to “stand your ground.” The amount of force you use, however, needs to be proportional to the threat you’re facing (in other words, reasonable). Excessive or unnecessary force can lead to legal consequences.
Duty to Retreat. Maryland does not have a “Duty to Retreat” law, which means that you are not obligated to try to escape or avoid a confrontation before using force to defend yourself. (If you do try to retreat, however, it can be seen as a factor in your favor when pleading your case in court; you can argue that you used force only as a last resort.)
Castle Doctrine. Maryland follows the Castle Doctrine, which provides legal protection for those using force to defend themselves in their homes or places of business. This doctrine states that there is no duty to retreat when facing an intruder inside your own property (i.e., your “castle”).
Arrests in Self-Defense Cases
While Maryland recognizes the right for people to defend themselves, you should know that you can still be arrested and face legal consequences if your claim of self-defense is considered questionable. A police officer might detain you if they suspect that your use of force was excessive, not proportionate to the threat or unlawful in some other way.
Of course, being arrested doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be convicted of any wrongdoing. Every situation is different, and the court takes an array of factors into consideration when making their decision. The best thing you can do for yourself is get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who has deep experience and a thorough understanding of Maryland’s self-defense laws. A qualified lawyer will go through all of the details of your case with you and determine your best course of action.
If you have been arrested for using self-defense, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.