Self-defense is a common law doctrine that has been addressed by Maryland courts on
numerous occasions. Included in the doctrine of self-defense is a duty to retreat, that is, a
duty by the individual claiming self-defense to retreat and escape the danger if it was in
his power to do so and was consistent with maintaining his safety.
See Sydnor, 365 Md. at 216, 776 A.2d at 675.
In order to succeed on a claim of self-defense, the accused must have: (1) not been the aggressor or provoked the conflict; (2) had reasonable grounds to believe that he/she was in apparent imminent or immediate danger of losing his/her own life or incurring serious bodily harm from his/her assailant or potential assailant; (3) actually believed at the time that he/she faced this type of danger; and (4) not used more force than the situation demanded.
See Marquardt v. State, 164 Md. App. 95, 140 (2005). See also Sydnor v. State, 365 Md. 205, 216, A.2d 669, 675 (2001).
Traditionally, under common law, the right to the use of deadly force in self-defense did
not apply until the claimant “retreated to the wall.”...
Other states, like Maryland, have adopted an exception to the duty to retreat known as the “castle doctrine.” Under the castle doctrine, “a man faced with the danger of an attack upon his dwelling need not retreat from his home to escape the danger, but instead maystand his ground and, if necessary to repel the attack, may kill the attacker.”
See Burch v. State, 346 Md. 253, 283-4, 696 A.2d 443, 458 (1997) quoting Crawford v. State, 231 Md.
354, 361, 190 A.2d 538, 541 (1963).
Source - http://house.state.md.us/2007RS/fnot...001/sb0761.pdf