Stand Your Ground Law in Kansas


The recent Trayvon Martin case in Florida highlighted the controversial "Stand Your Ground Law" that was the focal point of George Zimmerman's defense.  The Kansas version of the "Stand Your Ground Law" is found at K.S.A. 21-3211 and is titled:  "Use of Force in Defense of a person; no duty to retreat" and provides as follows:

a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent it appears to such person and such person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend such person or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. (b) A person is justified in the use of deadly force under circumstances described in subsection (a) if such person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to such person or a third person.   (c) Nothing in this section shall require a person to retreat if such person is using force to protect such person or a third person.

The prosecution bears the burden of establishing proof that the force was not justified as part of the probable cause determination required under this law.  For a comprehensive review of the law, see State v. Ultreras, 296 Kan. 828, 845, 295 P.3d 1020 (2013).

Most defense lawyers will file a "MOTION FOR PROBABLE CAUSE DETERMINATION ON WHETHER DEFENDANT IS IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION UNDER SELF DEFENSE STATUTE" before the Preliminary Hearing.  This filing shifts the burden of proof to the prosecution and announces your strategy of Self Defense.  You see this unfold in many domestic violence cases, where the accused relies on the self-defense statute as his or her primary defense.  If the accuser can be shown as the primary aggressor, then this defense has a legitimate chance.

McLane Law Firm

Matt McLane has been defending individuals charged with DUI, traffic and criminal offenses since his graduation from Washburn University Law School in 1996. Licensed in the states of Kansas and Missouri. Mr. McLane specializes in DUI and criminal defense throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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