Someone has come onto your property, or worse, into your home, without your permission. They begin threatening you and your family. They get violent so you take matters into your own hands and use force to subdue them.

The police arrive and you are arrested.

You did not start the altercation. They forced their way into your home. They were hurting your family, causing you to fear for their lives as well as your own.

Were you justified? Was this self defense?

It appears that the law may be on your side.


Is Nevada a “stand your ground” state?

In the State of Nevada, you have no duty to retreat, meaning that if someone is aggressive towards you or someone else, threatening harm or injury, you have the right to “stand your ground” and return reasonable force to stop the assault.

Even if you have the opportunity to run away, you are not legally obligated to do so.

If you are a law-abiding person, were not the aggressor, and had a reasonable fear for your life or someone else’s, you can stand your ground and fight back. But the return force, the force you exert on the aggressor must be reasonable, meaning that it is not more severe than the aggressor is exerting on you or that you reasonably feel will be exerted on you.

For instance, you get in a squabble with someone, and he says he’s going to kill you. If he seems ready and able to do so, enough that a reasonable person would fear for their life, then the court will likely see your actions as self defense. If he did not seem ready and able to do so, was unarmed, or was not maintaining an aggressive posture, then self defense is not likely to stand.


When did it become legal to possess firearms in Nevada?

While the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives all U.S. citizens the right to bear arms, it wasn’t until 1982 that it was added to the Nevada Constitution. In Articles I & II, it gives citizens the right to possess firearms “for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.”

Further, the United States Supreme Court brought further clarity to this issue in the case District of Columbia v. Heller. The ruling was that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep and bear arms for purposes other than the militia. This includes self defense within the person’s home.


What are the three elements for using force in self defense under Nevada law?

Nevada Revised Statute 200.120 provides three elements that must be present in order to justify the use of deadly force for self-defense. The individual doesn’t have to be in their own home for these elements to apply.

  • The person who used deadly force was not the person who was the original aggressor in the situation. If you were defending yourself from an aggressor, you cannot be the one who started it or was the original aggressor in the situation where it was necessary for you to use deadly force.
  • The person who used deadly force has a legal right to be at the place where the situation occurred. You have a legal right to be where the deadly force took place, but it does not have to be in your home. It can be in a public place, such as a park or even a store as long as you have a right to be there and it isn’t posted, or you are banned from the location or trespassing.
  • The person who used deadly force was not or was not committing or participating in a criminal act when the situation happened. At the time you used deadly force, you were not committing a crime, participating in a criminal activity, or acting in a way to further criminal activity.

As long as your situation meets these three requirements, then you can legally stand your ground and have no duty to retreat.



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