What is Virginia’s stance on “Stand Your Ground” laws?

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 7:02 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - “Stand your Ground Laws” mean you do not have to retreat before using force to defend yourself.

The law is different state by state. According to Commonwealth’s attorney for Augusta County, Tim Martin, Virginia does not have what would be considered a stand your ground law.

Martin said you can use self-defense if you reasonably feel like you are in danger.

Martin said that Virginia has a nuance set of circumstances in which it would be appropriate to use force to protect yourself or others.

“If someone provoked a fight then they would have to retreat as far as possible before using force to claim self-defense. If they did not bring on the fight at all then the standards change and they can use whatever force necessary to repel the threat.” said Martin.

Martin said that you can tell people to leave your property and put up no trespassing signs but you cannot kill or harm someone who is on your property by accident.

”Certainly someone coming to your home to do you harm would give rise to that. Now the circumstances when the person is simply accidentally at your property and don’t present anything dangerous to you. In Virginia it is not going to be considered permissible to claim self-defense unless in that moment it was reasonable to think that you were in danger.” said Martin.

According to Martin if someone was killed and the person could not claim self-defense and if the elements if murder can be proven, the person will be charged with murder. If someone was harmed, the person can be charged with malicious wounding.