When can you use deadly force in Michigan?

In 2006, Michigan passed the Self-Defense Act, which governs when an individual can, and cannot, use deadly force against another individual. Pursuant to the Act: 

(1) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses deadly force may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if either of the following applies:

(a) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.

(b) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.

(2) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses force other than deadly force may use force other than deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if he or she honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.

MCL 780.972

The Act also provides the individual exercising deadly force, or force other than deadly, a rebuttable presumption that they had an honest and reasonable belief that such force was necessary under the following circumstances:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), it is a rebuttable presumption in a civil or criminal case that an individual who uses deadly force or force other than deadly force under section 2 of the self-defense act has an honest and reasonable belief that imminent death of, sexual assault of, or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another individual will occur if both of the following apply:

(a) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is in the process of breaking and entering a dwelling or business premises or committing home invasion or has broken and entered a dwelling or business premises or committed home invasion and is still present in the dwelling or business premises, or is unlawfully attempting to remove another individual from a dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle against his or her will.

(b) The individual using deadly force or force other than deadly force honestly and reasonably believes that the individual is engaging in conduct described in subdivision (a).

(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if any of the following circumstances exist:

(a) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used, including an owner, lessee, or titleholder, has the legal right to be in the dwelling, business premises, or vehicle and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order, a probation order, or a parole order of no contact against that person.

(b) The individual removed or being removed from the dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle is a child or grandchild of, or is otherwise in the lawful custody of or under the lawful guardianship of, the individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used.

(c) The individual who uses deadly force or force other than deadly force is engaged in the commission of a crime or is using the dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle to further the commission of a crime.

(d) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is a peace officer who has entered or is attempting to enter a dwelling, business premises, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties in accordance with applicable law.

(e) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is the spouse or former spouse of the individual using deadly force or force other than deadly force, an individual with whom the individual using deadly force or other than deadly force has or had a dating relationship, an individual with whom the individual using deadly force or other than deadly force has had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of his or her household, and the individual using deadly force or other than deadly force has a prior history of domestic violence as the aggressor.

(3) As used in this section:

(a) “Domestic violence” means that term as defined in section 1 of 1978 PA 389, MCL 400.1501.
(b) “Business premises” means a building or other structure used for the transaction of business, including an appurtenant structure attached to that building or other structure.
(c) “Dwelling” means a structure or shelter that is used permanently or temporarily as a place of abode, including an appurtenant structure attached to that structure or shelter.
(d) “Law enforcement officer of a Michigan Indian tribal police force” means a regularly employed member of a police force of a Michigan Indian tribe who is appointed pursuant to former 25 CFR 12.100 to 12.103.
(e) “Michigan Indian tribe” means a federally recognized Indian tribe that has trust lands located within this state.
(f) “Peace officer” means any of the following:

(i) A regularly employed member of a law enforcement agency authorized and established pursuant to law, including common law, who is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the general criminal laws of this state. Peace officer does not include a person serving solely because he or she occupies any other office or position.
(ii) A law enforcement officer of a Michigan Indian tribal police force.
(iii) The sergeant at arms or any assistant sergeant at arms of either house of the legislature who is commissioned as a police officer by that respective house of the legislature as provided by the legislative sergeant at arms police powers act, 2001 PA 185, MCL 4.381 to 4.382.
(iv) A law enforcement officer of a multicounty metropolitan district.
(v) A county prosecuting attorney’s investigator sworn and fully empowered by the sheriff of that county.
(vi) Until December 31, 2007, a law enforcement officer of a school district in this state that has a membership of at least 20,000 pupils and that includes in its territory a city with a population of at least 180,000 as of the most recent federal decennial census.
(vii) A fire arson investigator from a fire department within a city with a population of not less than 750,000 who is sworn and fully empowered by the city chief of police.
(viii) A security employee employed by the state pursuant to section 6c of 1935 PA 59, MCL 28.6c.
(ix) A motor carrier officer appointed pursuant to section 6d of 1935 PA 59, MCL 28.6d.
(x) A police officer or public safety officer of a community college, college, or university who is authorized by the governing board of that community college, college, or university to enforce state law and the rules and ordinances of that community college, college, or university.

(g) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, that is designed to transport people or property.

MCL 780.951

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