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Examining self-defense laws in Mississippi

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Criminal Law |

When Mississippi residents hear people proclaim that their reason for assaulting another was self-defense, it may seem only natural to meet such claims with skepticism. At the same time, however, -most recognize that scenarios do exist where one may feel compelled to defend themselves.

Lawmakers realize this, as well. Thus, statutes exist outlining situations where the law justifies the use of force (even deadly force). Understanding what these scenarios are may be key to answering criminal accusations.

“Stand Your Ground” laws

Most states base their self-defense statutes on one of two legal principles. Legal professionals refer to the first as “Stand Your Ground” (also referred to as “Make My Day,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures). This principle removes the obligation from one to retreat from any situation where they feel threatened (regardless of location).

The second is “the Castle Doctrine.” This principle subscribes to the adage that one’s home is their castle, and thus they may defend it from threats of unlawful entry. This right to defend oneself under this principle also typically extends to one’s personal vehicle as well as any location where they are legally entitled to be (such as their place of employment).

Mississippi’s self-defense law

According to Section 97-3-15 of Mississippi’s Annotated Code, the state subscribes to the former philosophy. This particular statute says that one may use force (even to the extent of causing another’s death), if the context of the situation presents a reasonable risk of suffering death or serious injury (or being the victim of a felony) at the hands of the one against whom the person acts.

There are typically exceptions to this rule. One of the more obvious ones is when one acts against a peace officer attempting to execute their duties.