When discussing property owner duties of care to trespassers, the question of a Colorado Stand Your Ground Law often arises. Stand Your Ground is a self-defense law that permits property owners to use deadly force when they have a good-faith belief they are in imminent danger. These laws generally oppose the duty to retreat – a property owner’s legal duty to retreat from a threat as much as possible before resorting to deadly force for self-defense. A Stand Your Ground Law dismisses the duty of retreat and instead encourages affirmative defense.
In Colorado, a property owner has the right to stand his or her ground in certain circumstances. Colorado Criminal Code 18-1-704 states that someone may lawfully use physical force to defend him/herself or others against unlawful physical force by another person. In this situation, the property owner may use the degree of force he or she believes is reasonably necessary for self-defense or the defense of others. If a property owner injures a trespasser in Colorado, therefore, that person may not face any criminal charges or civil liability for the trespasser’s injuries. The property owner would have to prove, however, that he or she acted reasonably under the good faith belief that the trespasser was a threat.
If someone shot, attacked or otherwise injured you while you were on that person’s property without permission, work with a premises liability lawyer to understand your rights. The property owner may be liable for your injuries if you were not posing a threat of imminent harm to him or her. If the property owner used an unreasonable degree of force, this could also lead to liability for your injuries. However, Colorado’s Stand Your Ground Law may interfere with your ability to recover compensation from a property owner as an injured trespasser. Work with an experienced personal injury lawyer for better odds of going up against a property owner in a case involving trespassing.