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Georgia Stand Your Ground Law

By Butler Prather LLP on December 20, 2022

The news is flooded with information and stories about guns and self-defense, but it is important to understand what Georgia law actually says about defending yourself. Here, we want to discuss the Georgia “Stand Your Ground” law that was put into place by state legislators to give citizens the right to protect themselves and their property.

Georgia's Stand Your Ground Law

The Law Allows Individuals to Protect Themselves

When we examine Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law (O.C.G.A. § 16-3-23.1), we see the language directly states that “A person who uses threats or force relating to the use of force in defense of self, others, habitation, or other property has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use force, including deadly force.”

It is important to notice a few points about this particular law that you absolutely need to be aware of if you are going to carry a firearm in Georgia:

  1. The individual responding to a perceived threat does not have an obligation to retreat before they resort to deadly force. Even if they do have the opportunity to get away from the danger, they do not have to retreat.
  2. The law allows for deadly force in the event a person reasonably believes that someone else is about to gravely injure or kill them.
  3. An individual can also stand their ground to defend themselves, other individuals, their homes, or other property.

The Stand Your Ground law in Georgia is fairly expansive, and the language is sufficiently vague so that there is wide latitude for individuals wanting to protect themselves, others, or their property. However, that does not mean individuals can indiscriminately use deadly force. There are parameters, and individuals will certainly have to answer why they used deadly force if they do so.

Individuals will have to provide a defense that shows that they reasonably believed that the force they used was necessary to stop an attack.

The Stand Your Ground law is not the same thing as the well-known Castle Doctrine, which is the principle connected with defending a home or area where you are currently located. Under the castle doctrine, an individual who is justified in defending their “castle,” which is essentially any dwelling or area of habitation, has the right to stand their ground. Again, in this scenario, individuals do not have to retreat before they use deadly force.

The Stand Your Ground law in Georgia basically takes the castle doctrine and broadens it to include any area a person has the legal right to be.

Will You Need Legal Assistance?

Yes, you should absolutely seek legal assistance if you have to use deadly force to stop an attack on yourself, your property, or on others. These laws can get incredibly complicated, and even if a person was justified in using deadly force, they will likely face criminal charges and possibly a civil lawsuit.

We encourage speaking to a skilled Atlanta personal injury attorney who has experience handling Stand Your Ground and castle doctrine cases. An attorney can help guide you through this process and ensure that you are treated fairly every step of the way.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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