Self Defense in Missouri

A man at a gun range practicing self defense in Missouri.

The use of force (including deadly force) against another person is typically a crime. However, there are certain permissible acts of self defense in Missouri. They make it legal to defend yourself if it’s necessary and reasonable. 

According to the CDC, there are more than 2 million acts of “defensive handgun use” annually in the U.S. It occurs often enough that searches for terms like:

  • Missouri stand your ground law
  • Missouri self defense laws
  • Missouri self defense gun laws

Have skyrocketed over the past decade. With that in mind, if you’ve been charged with a crime while defending yourself, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Jefferson City criminal defense lawyer. Our lawyers are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable of laws concerning self defense in Missouri. 

Contact Kirsch & Kirsch today at 573-222-0826 for your free, confidential consultation. Learn more about self defense in Missouri below. 

MO Self Defense Laws 

Self defense in Missouri is not a crime. It’s a right. However, that right can only be exercised in situations the law deems necessary. According to Mo. Rev. Stat. §563.031 (Use of force in defense of persons), A person has the right to defend themselves against “the use or imminent use of unlawful force” against them or another person. 

It should be noted that there are limits to MO self defense laws. You don’t have the right to use force in the name of defense under many circumstances including, but not limited to:

  • You are the initial aggressor (with certain exceptions)
  • You are not justified in using “protective force”
  • You were in the act of committing or attempting to commit a forcible felony 

Additionally, you are only allowed to use deadly force in certain circumstances. If the law deems your actions unnecessary and avoidable, it could lead to criminal charges. 

However, the prosecution must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you didn’t reasonably believe that such force was necessary to protect yourself or others. For this reason, it’s essential to consult with a Jefferson City criminal defense attorney familiar with self defense in Missouri. 

Can You Shoot an Intruder in Missouri?

There are no black and white answers to this question. However, in Missouri, you have the right to reasonably defend yourself with a legal firearm in certain situations. 

Self defense laws in Missouri state that you can use “deadly force” against a person who “unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle lawfully occupied by such person.”

Furthermore, you don’t have a “duty to retreat” from your dwelling, residence, or private property. That means you can use reasonably necessary force to protect yourself, an unborn child, or another person against serious physical injury. 

Section 563.041 of MO self defense laws speaks more about the use of force in defense of property. 

What Self Defense Weapons Are Legal in Missouri? 

You may be wondering, “are self defense keychains legal?” In Missouri, that’s a resounding, no. Sometimes called “cat eyes,” self defense keychains are considered the same category of weapon as brass knuckles. That means that carrying them in public could lead to fines and jail time. 

However, certain non-lethal weapons are legal in Missouri. Using an illegal weapon to defend yourself against a person attempting to use unlawful force can potentially lead to civil and criminal consequences. 

Can You Defend Yourself Against Law Enforcement in Missouri?

If a police officer uses unlawful force against you, you may have the right to protect yourself in some cases. However, you don’t have the right to resist an “unlawful arrest” so long as it’s done without excessive force. 

Generally, using force against a police officer is never a good idea. It’s typically in your best interest to comply with their request and adhere to your Miranda Rights. Let your Jefferson City criminal defense lawyer fight for you in court. 

Contact a Missouri Self Defense Lawyer Today 

Criminal defense cases involving self defense often require an experienced Jefferson City lawyer. At Kirsch & Kirsch, we investigate, evaluate, and defend our client’s rights regarding self defense in Missouri. 

We have helped countless clients clear their names and receive the best possible outcomes under the circumstances of their cases. 

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense while defending yourself or others in Missouri, you deserve justice. Contact Kirsch & Kirsch today at 573-222-0826 for your free, confidential consultation.