Oklahoma is a state with strong self-defense laws all around, and has a comprehensive, intricately-codified stand-your-ground statute on the books.
So long as a person is in a dwelling, business, place of worship they have no duty to retreat from an intruder who has forcibly and unlawfully entered, and furthermore they have no duty to retreat from any other place they have a legal, lawful right to be in if doing so would place them at risk of death or great bodily injury from an assailant.
Overall, Oklahoma gets high marks from us on their stand-your-ground laws. We will unpack all the pertinent details below and furnish you with the specific statutes, but you’ll need to know in order to obtain a well-rounded understanding of the law.
What You Need to Know
- The Oklahoma State Legislature officially recognizes that citizens residing in the state should be able to expect absolute safety in their homes or other dwellings, and has formulated the laws in support of that presupposition.
- A person is presumed to be in fear of death or great bodily injury should the place they are legally occupying be broken into or in the process of being broken into unlawfully by an intruder.
- The state allows that lethal force may also be used to prevent the commission or imminent commission of a forcible felony.
Oklahoma’s self-defense and stand-your-ground laws are largely standard, for lack of a better word, with similar statutes adopted by other states.
Namely, a person may use lethal force to prevent the forcible and unlawful intrusion of any structure they have a right to be in, be at a dwelling or other residents, place of worship, business or elsewhere.
The defender in such a situation is presumed to be in fear of death or great bodily injury so long as it is apparent that an unlawful entry had occurred or had already occurred. Note that lethal force may be used to stop an illegal entry in progress under the same circumstances. Vehicles also fall under the prescription for occupation in the same context.
The state also makes allowances for a person to defend himself using any appropriate level of force (“meeting force with force”) in any other place they have a legal, lawful right to be so long as they believe the level of force used was necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to themselves or someone else and they furthermore have no duty to retreat under the circumstances.
Citizens should note that Oklahoma law only allows the presumption that a defender was in fact in fear of death or great bodily injury in such cases a defender is an occupant in one of the structures or situations listed above where they have a legal, lawful right to be.
The presumption of fear of death or great bodily injury will not be extant if they are elsewhere, even if they have a right to be in the place they are in and we’re not otherwise committing a crime.
This could potentially open a defender up to considerably more scrutiny under the eyes of the law, so do take care that you can clearly and carefully articulate your reasonable fear before using any force but especially lethal force in self-defense. The decision you make in an instant will be dissected in a court of law.
Oklahoma is a state with dependable self-defense laws including a smartly integrated stand-your-ground law. So long as a defender is in any place they have a right to be or is occupying a dwelling, place of worship or place of business, or a vehicle, they may use lethal force to meet an attack or attempted forcible entry.
Defenders may likewise use lethal force if necessary to prevent death, great bodily injury or the commission or imminent commission of a forcible felony anywhere else they may legally be so long as they are not doing anything illegal.
Relevant Oklahoma Use of Force Statutes
§ 21-1289.24 FIREARM REGULATION – STATE PREEMPTION
A. 1. The State Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation in this state touching in any way firearms, knives, components, ammunition, and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances, or regulations in this field, except as provided for in paragraph 2 of this subsection and subsection C of this section, are null and void.
2. A municipality may adopt any ordinance:
a.relating to the discharge of firearms within the jurisdiction of the municipality, and
b.allowing the municipality to issue a traffic citation for transporting a firearm improperly as provided for in Section 1289.13A of this title, provided, however, that penalties contained for violation of any ordinance enacted pursuant to the provisions of this subparagraph shall not exceed the penalties established in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.
3. As provided in the preemption provisions of this section, the otherwise lawful carrying or possession of a firearm under the provisions of Chapter 53 of this title shall not be punishable by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace or similar offense against public order.
4. A public or private school may create a policy regulating the possession of knives on school property or in any school bus or vehicle used by the school for purposes of transportation.
B. No municipality or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance, or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, carrying, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes, or other controls on firearms, knives, components, ammunition, and supplies.
C. Except as hereinafter provided, this section shall not prohibit any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality concerning the confiscation of property used in violation of the ordinances of the municipality as provided for in Section 28-121 of Title 11 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Provided, however, no municipal ordinance relating to transporting a firearm or knife improperly may include a provision for confiscation of property.
D. When a person’s rights pursuant to the protection of the preemption provisions of this section have been violated, the person shall have the right to bring a civil action against the persons, municipality, and political subdivision jointly and severally for injunctive relief or monetary damages or both.
21-1289.25 – PHYSICAL OR DEADLY FORCE AGAINST INTRUDER
A. The Legislature hereby recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes, places of business or places of worship and have the right to establish policies regarding the possession of weapons on property pursuant to the provisions of Section 1290.22 of this title.
B. A person, regardless of official capacity or lack of official capacity, within a place of worship or a person, an owner, manager or employee of a business is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
1.a.The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, place of business or place of worship, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against the will of that person from the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, place of business or place of worship.
b.The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred; or
2. The person who uses defensive force knew or had a reasonable belief that the person against whom the defensive force was used entered or was attempting to enter into a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, place of business or place of worship for the purpose of committing a forcible felony, as defined in Section 733 of this title, and that the defensive force was necessary to prevent the commission of the forcible felony.
C. The presumption set forth in subsection B of this section does not apply if:
1. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not a protective order from domestic violence in effect or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;
2. The person or persons sought to be removed are children or grandchildren, or are otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
2. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, place of business or place of worship to further an unlawful activity.
D. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
E. A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle of another person, place of business or place of worship is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
F. A person who uses defensive force, as permitted pursuant to the provisions of subsections A, B, D and E of this section, is justified in using such defensive force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such defensive force. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes charging or prosecuting the defendant.
G. A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of defensive force, but the law enforcement agency may not arrest the person for using defensive force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the defensive force that was used was unlawful.
H. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection F of this section.
I. The provisions of this section and the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act shall not be construed to require any person using a weapon pursuant to the provisions of this section to be licensed in any manner.
J. A person pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony shall not be deemed guilty of committing a criminal act.
K. As used in this section:
1. “Defensive force” includes, but shall not be limited to, pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony;
2. “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people;
3. “Place of worship” means:
a.any permanent building, structure, facility or office space owned, leased, rented or borrowed, on a full-time basis, when used for worship services, activities and business of the congregation, which may include, but not be limited to, churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, and
b.any permanent building, structure, facility or office space owned, leased, rented or borrowed for use on a temporary basis, when used for worship services, activities and business of the congregation including, but not limited to, churches, temples, synagogues and mosques;
4. “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest; and
5. “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.