Baltimore residents can rest assured that if an intruder invades their
home with violent intent, then they are well within their right to shoot
and kill the person. Generally, the law will protect those who use a gun
in self-defense like this from being charged with violent crimes. However,
if the individual is outside of your home and on the street, such situations
need to be examined on a case-by-case basis.
When it comes to self-defense, everyone has the right to use force in the
name of defending themselves. For example, if a Baltimore resident has
been charged with murder, it may be possible to use self-defense arguments
as a way of defending the accused person against the crimes in court.
That said, the amount of force used against the person has to be proportionate
to the situation. In this sense, if a thief enters your home, discovers
that you are there and attempts to leave without any threat of violence
against you, it would obviously be an inappropriate use of force to shoot
the thief with a firearm.
The state of Maryland is known as a “Duty to Retreat” state.
This means that if you are threatened, but you have the ability to escape
harm, you have a duty to retreat. In “Duty to Retreat” states,
you are not permitted to stand your ground and confront an attacker with
deadly self-defense if there exists the opportunity to escape the risk
of harm. If escaping is not an option, then individuals will have the
legal ability to employ deadly force.
Common sense dictates that Maryland residents assess a particular situation
before making the decision to employ deadly force in self-defense. The
law also requires that you consider the force and threat of an attacker
— and whether it is possible to escape — before discharging
a deadly weapon at the person. Knowing the laws relating to self-defense
and deadly force is important for every Maryland resident in order to
avoid being charged with violent crimes.