North Carolina Self Defense Laws
It's a common view that self defense is a justification when you're under attack or threatened. Every state has self defense laws to determine the specific circumstances under which a person can use the defense. Although the concept of self defense is universally accepted, certain aspects of the principle are the subject of scrutiny. For instance, "stand your ground laws" (laws that fundamentally eliminate the duty to retreat from an attacker before you can use deadly force) are continuously debated.
The Castle Doctrine
More than half of states recognize stand your ground laws in some form or another. North Carolina is in this group because it follows a version of this type of law called the "Castle Doctrine." This differs from more traditional stand your ground law states since the law further restricts contexts under which an individual can use deadly force to defend themselves. The rationale is based on the idea that your home is your "castle;" if an intruder invades your space, you have no obligation to back down. North Carolina law extends this by including not only your home, but also your vehicle and your workplace
North Carolina Self Defense Laws at a Glance
The chart below provides a summary of statutes related to North Carolina's self defense laws, including links to important code sections.
Justifiable Use of Force
Defense of a person:
Justified Use of Deadly Force and No Duty to Retreat (if you have the lawful right to be there) when:
You are immune from civil and criminal liability unless:
No duty to retreat from your home, motor vehicle, or workplace because there is a presumption of fear of death or serious bodily harm.
When the Use of Deadly Force is Not Justified
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
North Carolina Self Defense Laws: Related Resources
- North Carolina Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
- North Carolina Criminal Laws
- North Carolina Gun Control Laws
Need Help with Self Defense Laws? Find an Attorney
If you've been accused of a crime in which North Carolina's self defense laws apply, then it is important to talk to a defense attorney who can assess your options. Take control of your case by finding a local criminal defense attorney today.
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