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Can You Stand Your Ground In New York City?

A “stand-your-ground” law allows people to use deadly force when they believe it to be necessary to defend against great harm or deadly force. Under these laws, an individual has no duty to retreat.

Here in New York, such laws do not exist. You have a duty to retreat in New York if you know you can do so “with complete personal safety to yourself and others.” However, New York also does not impose a duty to retreat in your own home if you were not the initial aggressor. This is known as New York’s “castle doctrine.”

Yet there are limits even under castle doctrine. You are permitted to use force, but not deadly force, to stop vandalism or theft, but you may only use deadly force if you believe an arson, kidnapping, assault, or murder.

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