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Is there a duty to retreat in Colorado?

Self-defense can be something of a tricky claim when trying to prove that some level of violence was necessary. On one hand, people certainly do have the legal ability to use force to defend themselves and those that they love. On the other, they need to make sure that they do this correctly to avoid accidentally violating the law.

For example, in some states, people are given a duty to retreat before engaging in an altercation. This doesn’t mean that they have an obligation to retreat in all situations, but simply that they should use clear and obvious ways to get out of the altercation if those exist. They should try to defuse the situation and only use force if they are unable to do so. But does Colorado have a law like this?

Stand your ground

No, Colorado does not have a duty to retreat and instead uses stand-your-ground laws. As long as you are legally allowed to be in the location where you are, then you can stand your ground in the face of an aggressor and use force to defend yourself. This is certainly different than acting as the aggressor on your own, of course, but there’s no need to try to avoid a confrontation that you did not start.

Another key point to keep in mind is that the amount of force that you use needs to be proportionate to the force that you faced. For example, you can only use deadly force to defend yourself if you have a genuine fear of death or serious injury.

If you have been arrested after using self-defense, then it’s important to know about all of the legal options that you have and the steps you’ll need to take at this time.