How Far is Too Far: Is Your Use of Force Justified? | Colorado

In Colorado, a person may use physical force in defense of himself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful physical force by another, and may use the degree of force reasonably necessary to do so. Deadly physical force may be used only if the person reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate, and the person reasonably believes that he or she or a third person is in imminent danger of being killed or receiving great bodily injury.

Deadly Physical Force Vs. Physical Force

Deadly physical force may also be used against another person when reasonably necessary to stop that person from committing a serious crime, such as kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, or a serious assault. A person may not use physical force, however, if he or she provoked a person by physical force, was the initial aggressor in a conflict, or is engaged in combat by agreement.

Castle Doctrine

Colorado also gives broad protections to those who use force against an unlawful intruder in their home. This is called the “Castle Doctrine.” Force, including deadly force, may be used when a person has made an unlawful entry into a dwelling, and the occupant reasonably believes that the person has committed, is committing, or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force no matter how slight, against any occupant.

Other than a home invasion, however, a person may only use reasonable and appropriate physical force to stop a trespass, and may use deadly force in such situation only if it constitutes self-defense under our laws or is reasonably necessary to stop a first-degree arson. In other words, you cannot use deadly force to protect your personal property.

If you have any questions regarding the use of physical force in Colorado, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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