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What Do Self-Defense Laws Look Like in Tennessee?

 Posted on November 26,2019 in Criminal Defense

Blount County murder charges defense attorney

Most states have laws that exempt those who injure or kill someone from prosecution if they did so in self-defense. Tennessee is one of these states, and it is important for all of the state's residents to know the details of these laws in case they ever fear for their own safety. For anyone facing charges of murder, it is important to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who has a detailed understanding of the applicable laws regarding self-defense. 

Standing Your Ground in Tennessee

“Stand your ground” laws are some of the most common forms of self-defense legislation implemented throughout the United States. Under these laws, individuals are allowed to use deadly force for self-defense if they fear that they are in imminent danger of serious injury or death by another person. Some state laws include a "duty to retreat," in which a person is required to attempt to retreat or run away from an alleged attacker before they are allowed to resort to deadly force in their own defense. However, Tennessee is not one of these states. In Tennessee, if someone enters your home, property, motor vehicle, or a hotel room that you are occupying, you are legally allowed to defend yourself, and you do not need to attempt to retreat before doing so. Experiencing “imminent fear” is one of the only requirements for using deadly force under the state's “stand your ground” law.

House Bill 409

In the first few months of 2019, a freshman Republican lawmaker was hoping to increase the protections provided to Tennesseeans under the state's “stand your ground” law. If passed, House Bill 409 would give criminal and civil immunity to people who justifiably use or threaten to use force in self-defense. In other words, those who use firearms to defend themselves or their family with due diligence would be exempt from being arrested and prosecuted in the Tennessee court system. Notably, these protections would not apply to those who use force against a law enforcement officer. The bill has not yet become law, but it could still pass in the future. Those who are in support of the bill see it as fair protection, legally and financially, for those who defend themselves against an attacker. Those opposed to the bill think that it would open the door for more gun violence to occur with no legal repercussions for those who claim self-defense.

Call a Knox County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of murder can land you behind bars and have severe consequences to your future. If you are facing homicide charges, you need a skilled defense lawyer on your side, even if you justifiably acted in self-defense. At the law office of  Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, our attorney has years of experience aggressively defending those who are facing criminal charges in the Tennessee court system. He is well-versed in Tennessee laws, and he can help you determine your best options for defense. Contact our Knoxville, TN murder defense attorney at 865-281-1000 for a free consultation.




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