South Carolina is one of the states that has a stand your ground law. Some people are confused by what it means.
Understanding stand your ground
The stand your ground law comes from a statute called the Protection of Persons and Property Act. It gives you the right to protect yourself and even use deadly force if someone tries to force their way into your home or vehicle or if someone tries to force someone from their home or vehicle. This doesn’t always mean your own home or vehicle; it also applies to homes or vehicles belonging to other people who invited you as a guest.
Explaining duty to retreat
Duty to retreat means that if you are under the threat of imminent harm, you must retreat from it. However, the basis of the stand your ground law doesn’t require you to first retreat from danger. As a result, if you use force to protect your home or vehicle from an intruder and end up arrested on charges of a violent offense, you have the law on your side. Stand your ground means that you have the right to use any means possible in self-defense or in defense of others when there is a threat of imminent harm.
How the castle doctrine compares to stand your ground
Stand your ground laws are similar to the castle doctrine, but the latter only gives you the right to use deadly force to protect your real estate property. In other words, it does not allow you to use such force if a person is trying to break into your vehicle.
Although the stand your ground laws have long been controversial, state law gives every person the right to protect their property and themselves. It’s a type of self-defense that should not result in criminal prosecution.