Defend Yourself When Prosecuted for Violent Acts of Self-Defense

You may face situations in life where you have no idea how you will react until it happens. Often, situations involving self-defense and potentially violent acts fall into this category.

A woman in Colorado Springs recently faced such a choice. She ended up shooting a man in the head after he made threats to kill her and attempted to strangle her. The man survived, and the case remains under investigation—but it goes to show what people are capable of when they feel threatened.

Here’s what you need to know about violent actions in Colorado that occur in self-defense, plus the state laws that govern situations where you might feel you have no choice but to protect your life by taking another’s.

Self-Defense in Colorado

Sometimes actions you take in self-defense lead to criminal accusations. Self-defense is a strategy used by attorneys as a legal defense to these accusations.

While it does admit that you committed the crime, it argues that you only acted to defend yourself from harm. A successful self-defense argument helps justify the crime and shows the court that you acted, not out of malice, but self-preservation.

State law in Colorado provides a way to prove that circumstances in a case merited self-defense. Under the self-defense law in the state, you are allowed to:

Defend a Person

You are allowed under state law to defend either yourself or another person from physical force. However, you can only use deadly force if it appears the attacker may seriously kidnap, sexually assault, or commit assault against you or another person.

Defend Yourself in Your Home

In your home, Colorado’s “Make My Day” law may apply. This law states that you can use deadly force as long as it seems the person intruding is going to commit a crime, such as robbery—or that they may use physical force against you.

It’s important to note that the right to use deadly force in these circumstances only applies inside your home. If someone is on the porch/deck or in the yard, the “Make My Day” law no longer applies.

Defend a Premises or Property

You may also be able to use deadly force to defend premises or other property, if you believe physical force may be used against you.

However, you must believe that the perpetrator is going to seriously assault, sexually assault, or kidnap you or another in order to support the self-defense argument.

Proving Self-Defense

The law clearly states when self-defense may be used, but it’s also important for an attorney to demonstrate in court that:

  • You reasonably believed you were going to suffer unlawful and imminent force against you
  • You reasonably believed that you needed to use force immediately in order to protect yourself or another
  • You reasonably believed that the degree of force used was necessary to prevent harm

In Colorado, you do not have the duty to retreat before using force. You are allowed under the law to stand your ground. That’s part of why understanding the law helps you in cases of self-defense.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.