HB 114: A Stand Your Ground Law in Utah
This bill passed the House 54-16 and the Senate 18-8.
Under current law, a person does not have a duty to retreat from an encounter in which defensive force is justified to repeal a threat. However, prosecutors can argue that the use of force was unreasonable if the person could have retreated to safety.
Representative Cory Maloy has sponsored House Bill 114 in order to address this issue. Under the bill, a person would not be required “to retreat… even if safety could be achieved by retreating.” Further, the prosecutor and judge would be disallowed from considering in a resulting court case that the reasonable force could have been avoided by retreating to safety.
The right to defensive use of force to deter a threat should not be overridden merely because a judge or jury feels that a safer option may have been available. This bill helps clarify and protect the right to repel force.