Does Tennessee Have Stand Your Ground Law

Tennessee Stand Your Ground Law

Tennessee has a “stand your ground” law, also known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense without the duty to retreat. This law is codified in Tennessee Code Annotated ยง 39-11-611.

Key Provisions of the Law

  1. No Duty to Retreat: An individual has no duty to retreat from an attacker in any place where they have a legal right to be, including their home, workplace, or vehicle.
  2. Immunity from Prosecution: Individuals who use deadly force in self-defense are immune from prosecution for criminal homicide or assault, provided that they reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent imminent death, serious bodily injury, or the commission of a felony.
  3. Burden of Proof: The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual did not act in self-defense.

Application of the Law

The stand your ground law applies in situations where an individual is faced with an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. The law does not apply to situations where the individual is the initial aggressor or where the use of deadly force is excessive or unreasonable.

Exceptions to the Law

There are a few exceptions to the stand your ground law. These exceptions include:

  • When the individual is engaged in criminal activity.
  • When the individual is attempting to commit a crime.
  • When the individual is fleeing after committing a crime.
  • When the individual is using deadly force against a law enforcement officer acting in the line of duty.

Controversy and Criticism

The stand your ground law has been the subject of controversy and criticism. Some argue that the law makes it too easy for individuals to use deadly force, even in situations where it is not necessary. Others argue that the law is necessary to protect individuals from being forced to retreat from an attacker.


Tennessee’s stand your ground law is a complex and controversial issue. The law has been upheld by the Tennessee courts, but it is still being debated by lawmakers and legal experts.

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