“Stand your ground” laws have made national headlines recently, which is a good reminder to know what Missouri’s law states on the matter.
One of the most recent incidents was in Florida back in July, where there was a dispute over a parking space. Reports say Michael Drejka shot Markeis McGlockton during the parking lot altercation. The Florida county sheriff initially declined to arrest Drejka citing the “stand your ground law” — McGlockton shoved Drejka in the altercation and Drejka said he had feared for his life. So how does that translate for Missourians, and when can it be enforced?
“If you are legally there, if you have a right to be there, if you are there by permission; you have the right to stand your ground and not be required to run from the aggressor,” says Bryan Stevenson with Stevenson Law Office.
“Missourians have always had the right to self defense. There’s nothing new there. In the past there was a Castle Doctrine, but that applied mostly to your home. The way I understand the new standards is basically you have a right to defend yourself and not flee on a place you have a right to be there legally,” says Chris Jennings, Newton Co. Sheriff.
In Missouri, the stand your ground law allows a person to defend themself, but it doesn’t stop there.
“You have the right to defend property. For example, if someone was hijacking your car, and they threw you on the sidewalk and they were trying to run off with your car, someone could use deadly force to stop that,” says Bryan Stevenson.
But Sheriff Jennings says there is still a legal consideration when it comes to using deadly force.
“You can’t just shoot somebody because they attack you. You have to be in fear of your life, or fear of someone else’s life being endangered in order to take that degree of self defense,” says Chris Jennings.
Stevenson adds the stand your ground law does not apply to the aggressor in an altercation that ends in deadly force. In Florida, Michael Drejka has been charged with manslaughter for the shooting of Markeis McGlockton, which he has pled not guilty.