Louisiana Stand Your Ground and Self-Defense Law
Updated: Mar 1
Louisiana Revised Statutes, 14:20(a), that is, La. R.S. 14:20(4)(a) provides,
“A. A homicide is justifiable:
When committed by a person lawfully inside a dwelling, a place of business, or a motor vehicle as defined in R.S. 32:1(40) when the conflict began, against a person who is attempting to make an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, or who has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, and the person committing the homicide reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or to compel the intruder to leave the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle.
This provision means that a person who is justified in using self-defense has no duty to retreat before he uses force or violence. In other words, a person who is legally allowed to use self defense and who is in a person where he has a right to be has no duty to retreat before using force or violence and may stand his ground and meet force with force.”
Thus, if a person is lawfully in his car and someone tries to make an unlawful entry into the car, the person in the car has no duty to retreat. That person may use whatever force is reasonable under the circumstances in order to defend himself. This includes the use of “deadly force” if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the intruder from entering the car. So the person in the car does not to have to retreat or run from the car to seek safety elsewhere because there is no duty to retreat in Louisiana. A person may “stand his ground.”
The same applies to a person who is in a house, apartment, or a place of business. It is not necessary for the a person in those places to believe that he is in danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm for the law allows the victim to use deadly force to prevent the intruder from entering the car, dwelling, or place of business.
La. R.S. 14:20(B) provides that there is a “presumption that a person lawfully inside a dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle held a reasonable belief that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent unlawful entry thereto, or to compel an unlawful intruder to leave the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle when the conflict began, if both of the following occur:
(1) The person against whom deadly force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering or had unlawfully and forcibly entered the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle.
(2) The person who used deadly force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring or had occurred.”
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