The 14 Duty-to-Retreat States

Feel free to share the list below, I don’t claim any ownership of it, I merely made the effort to build it. That said, if you’d care to cite as the source, that would be greatly appreciated!

The 15 14 Duty to Retreat States (as of 6/17/18):

New Jersey
New York
North Dakota
Rhode Island
Wyoming (became SYG effective July 1, 2018)

That’s the list. That said, don’t forget my default advice:

Anyone who actually HAS a safe avenue of retreat and doesn’t take advantage of it, rather than go hands on, is an idiot. The moment you go hands on, you’ve immediately incurred a greater than zero risk of death and a greater than zero risk of going to jail for the rest of your life. There ought to be few circumstances that justify taking on such risks if you could simply safely retreat instead.

Also, keep in mind that in most of the 36 “stand-your-ground” states, there is no legal duty to retreat before acting in self-defense, but the prosecutor can still argue to the jury that they can consider whether the defendant could have safely retreated in evaluating whether the defender’s use of force was reasonable. A half-dozen states are “hard” stand-your-ground states in retreat is taken completely off the table and such an argument by the prosecutor is not permitted, but they are in the minority.

Published by

Andrew Branca

Andrew F. Branca, Esq. is currently in his third decade of practicing law, and is an internationally-recognized expert on the law of self-defense of the United States. Andrew is a Guest Lecturer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a former Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-Benefactor Member, and an NRA Certified Instructor. He also teaches lawyers how to argue self-defense cases as a certified instructor with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) system in numerous states around the country. Andrew is also a host on the Outdoor Channel’s TV show “The Best Defense” and contributor to the National Review Online. Andrew has been quoted as a SME (subject-matter expert) on use-of-force law by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and many other mainstream media, including nationally syndicated broadcast media. Recently, Andrew won the UC Berkeley Law School debate on “Stand-Your-Ground,” and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting Law Symposium on self-defense law. He is also a founding member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board. In addition to being a lawyer, Andrew is also a competitive handgun shooter, an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13), and a Master-class competitor in multiple IDPA divisions.

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