In Michigan, you may use deadly force, with no duty to retreat, if you have an honest and reasonable belief that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault to yourself or to another individual.
To take advantage of this self-defense law, which is found at Michigan Compiled Laws sec. 780.972, you must be able to prove three things:
- That you aren’t engaged in a crime,
- That you are somewhere you’re legally allowed to be; and,
- That you feel deadly force is the only way to defend yourself or another person.
Because the law specifically indicates that you may use deadly force with no duty to retreat it is often referred to as a “stand your ground” law. This stand your ground law applies both inside and outside your home. However, if you are using self-defense inside your home, you may be able to take advantage of the presumption of self-defense that is contained within Michigan’s home defense law, which is found at Michigan Compiled Laws sec. 780.951. This law is also sometimes referred to as the “castle doctrine.” However, this castle doctrine only applies in very narrow circumstances. If a judge or jury finds that these narrow circumstances don’t apply, then you will not be entitled to the presumption that you were acting in self-defense.
This stand your ground law applies also to the use of non-deadly force. Generally speaking, you are only allowed to use the degree of force necessary under the circumstances. And, you must also satisfy the above three criteria when using non-deadly force.
Michigan’s stand your ground law is far broader in application than Michigan’s castle doctrine. It also does not contain an “objective standard,” meaning it does not afford shooters the benefit of a presumption. What Michigan’s stand your ground law does require however is an “honest and reasonable” belief. In most circumstances, the determination of whether you had such a belief will be decided by a jury comprised of 12 people.
If you have obtained your CPL and have purchased a gun for the purposes of self-defense, then it is essential for you to know your rights and to know the law.