Does Indiana Have a “Stand Your Ground” Law?

In Indiana, self-defense cases are taken very seriously, especially when using deadly force to defend yourself. However, the concept of “self-defense” does not apply under all the circumstances surrounding this type of case. The Indiana court’s main point will be to consider and decide whether the deadly force used was justified.

Speaking only on a general basis, you may only use deadly force when there is a reasonable belief that your or someone else’s life and overall safety are in imminent danger.

In Indiana, the “Stand Your Ground law” clearly states that you can use deadly force in self-defense if you believe your or someone else’s life is in danger, and by using lethal force, you are preventing death or severe bodily harm.

There are some pertinent facts that the court will consider vital to the use of deadly force, such as you, as the victim, cannot be the aggressor and must not have provoked the altercation in any manner. In other words, if you don’t feel you are in imminent life-threatening danger, you should not use lethal force, However, Indiana stand-your-ground laws also state that when you are in a situation where you feel you are in imminent danger, it is not your duty to retreat.

It cannot be overemphasized; these cases are all legally tricky, and a skilled Anderson self-defense lawyer’s help, advice, and professional guidance are mandatory.

How Does the Indiana Court Define “Reasonable Force?

You are justified to use reasonable force if you must protect yourself or another person if you are in imminent danger from another.
This part of the Indiana law applies when you are not in danger of immediate harm. For example, if a drunk person pushes you, you can use force to protect yourself, but it must be reasonable in the court’s eyes.

Simply put, reasonable force must match the force used against you so you might push the drunk back. If you injure the drunk with a chair, most likely, the state will view that as an “unreasonable” use of force, and you may be charged with a crime.

But who decides if you used “reasonable’ force; in most cases, if your case goes to court, the judge or jury would make that decision. The question must be answered: “Would a reasonable person in the same situation use a similar amount of force?”

Admittedly, in many self-defense cases in Indiana, whether you used appropriate force or not is a very subjective matter. This is why, if you are charged after you used lethal force to defend yourself or of using “inappropriate” force, you must have experienced, professional, and aggressive defense legal representation before you go before the judge.

These charges can be dire, and if you are found guilty of using inappropriate force or lethal force, the penalties could change your future life and take away your freedom.

So, What Parameters Does The Court Use When Deciding On a Case Where Lethal Force is Used?

Suppose you find yourself in a situation that causes you to use lethal force to defend yourself. In that case, essentially, there are four main factors that the Indiana courts may consider to determine if your use of force was justified.

These four factors that may justify using lethal force and are backed by the “stand your ground” laws are;

Justification for using force, not excuses—Judges must distinguish between justifications for your actions and excuses. If your actions are seen as justified, the judge sees that as inherently good. However, criminals use excuses to explain their actions.

  • The stand your ground laws – These self-defense laws allow a person to protect themselves against imminent threats by standing their ground instead of retreating. Unlike other states, in Indiana, you do not need to try to escape before using force to defend yourself against physical harm.
  • Did you use necessary force – In almost all self-defense cases, the necessity to use deadly force plays the leading role when the judge or jury makes a decision. But again, if any reasonable person would use less-than-lethal force in the same situation, that level of force would be used first.

The Indiana Supreme Court states that you have the right to use deadly force to defend yourself, but if the necessity to use that force ends, so does the justification for using it.

  • If you believe you are about to receive severe bodily injury – The severity of the attack must equal the seriousness of your response. Let’s say someone stabs you with a pin; you could use reasonable force to stop them. But if they threaten to stab you with a letter opener, lethal force may be necessary.

You begin to see how open to interpretation your actions may be. However, your experienced, well-versed defense lawyer will use evidence, witness testimony, and other evidence to prove that the lethal force you used was, indeed, justified.

Some Critical Facts About Indiana’s Self-Defense Statutes.

Indiana’s self-defense laws are designed so that, if needed, you can use whatever force is appropriate to defend yourself or your loved ones from significant harm.
However, there are some essential facts you must know, such as:

  • You do not have to retreat if you are justified in using force to defend yourself.
  • You can never instigate the situation in any manner.
  • You must reasonably believe the other person will harm you with unlawful force.
  • The force you use to defend yourself must be proportional to the force the other person uses to attack you; you don’t bring a pistol to a fistfight.
  • The right to use force to defend yourself ends when the incident ends.
  • You can never use a self-defense argument if you are committing a felony or trying to escape from a crime.
  • You can’t claim self-defense if you were involved in a fistfight, which you willingly entered. Unless you attempted to move away from the fight.

Most of these facts might seem like common sense, but in court, the prosecution will always attempt to make it seem as though you used inappropriate levels of force to defend yourself. Therefore, in all self-defense cases, your thorough, prepared, and experienced defense lawyer will tirelessly fight for your rights and your right to stand your ground.

I Acted in Self-Defense and Must Go to Court; What Should I Do?

First, if you’ve acted in self-defense and feel confident your use of lethal (or reasonable) force was justified, never take it for granted that the courts will see it your way. These are serious charges that carry severe, life-changing penalties if convicted.

Obtain the help and professional counsel of an Anderson criminal defense lawyer immediately.

The law firm of Beeman Heifner Benge, P.A. has a long and successful history of helping Anderson and Indianapolis clients defend their rights and fight for their freedom.

Call them today at (765) 234-8024 and schedule a full consultation on your case. They have the resources, empathy, and knowledge to provide you with all the legal options at your disposal and will work tirelessly to obtain the best outcome legally possible.