Martial Law What is it, Who Can Declare It, and How Does it Affect You

Martial Law: What is it, Who Can Declare It, and How Does it Affect You?

What is martial law? How would you know if it has been declared in your area? What are the rules? How does it affect you and your family? In this article, we will answer all those questions and more. Martial law is a term that many people have heard but don’t really understand. It can be a frightening concept, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have a better understanding of martial law and what to do if it is ever declared in your area.

Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to an emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in occupied territory. It can be declared in an emergency or wartime situation when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function, thereby making it necessary for the military to take over and restore order. It can also be imposed to quell dissent or rebellion against a government, or as a means of maintaining power during a coup d’état.

*** The ability to suspend habeas corpus is related to the imposition of martial law ***

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So, who can declare martial law? In most cases, it is declared by the head of state or the head of government. In some countries it can also be declared by military commanders in the field without approval from the government. In the United States, the courts have not ruled definitively on who has the power to declare martial law, but it is generally thought that the president has this authority on a national level.

Now that we know what martial law is and sort of who can declare it, let’s take a look at how it affects you. If martial law is declared in your area, there are typically three things that will happen; a curfew will be imposed, travel restrictions will be put in place, and civil rights will be suspended. Curfews are usually imposed to prevent people from being on the streets after dark and to limit the amount of time people have to congregate in public places. Travel restrictions are put in place to prevent people from moving about freely and to limit their access to certain areas. Finally, civil rights are suspended in order to allow the military to “maintain order and prevent civilian protests or dissent”.



Martial law has been declared sixty-eight times in the United States. Most of these declarations have been made during wartime, but there have also been several instances of martial law being declared during times of civil unrest or rioting. Although not officially considered Martial law, there were calls for it and there was de facto martial law in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014 following the shooting of Michael Brown. There have also been calls for martial law in Baltimore, Maryland in April of 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray. It is important to note that while martial law has been declared dozens of times in the United States, it has only been imposed for a limited period of time and typically only affects a small geographical area.

Indicators that martial law may be implemented soon?

  • A heavy military presence
  • An increased police presence
  • Roadblocks and checkpoints
  • Curfews
  • Travel restrictions
  • Looting and rioting

If martial law is declared in your area, you can expect to see a heavy military presence and an increased police presence. There may also be roadblocks and checkpoints set up as well as curfews in place. Travel restrictions are also common, so you may not be able to leave your city or town without permission. Looting and rioting are also common during times of martial law, so it is important to be prepared. Finally, your civil rights may be suspended, so you could be arrested and detained without being charged with a crime.


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So, what should you do if martial law is declared in your area? First, it is important to stay calm and follow the instructions of the authorities. Second, be sure to have all of your necessary documents with you at all times. These include your ID, passport, birth certificate, etc. Third, stock up on food, water, and other necessities in case you are stuck at home for an extended period of time. And fourth, be sure to stay informed by listening to the radio or TV for updates on the situation.

Where is the safest place during martial law? There is no definitive answer, as it depends on the situation. If there is unrest or rioting, it may be safest to stay indoors. If travel restrictions are in place, it may be safest to stay in your home or local area. And if civil rights have been suspended, it may be safest to avoid areas where the military is present. Ultimately, the best thing to do is to stay informed and use your best judgement.

Preparing for martial law in your area? Here are some things you can do:

  • Stay informed. Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the situation.
  • Have all of your necessary documents with you at all times. These include your ID, passport, birth certificate, etc.
  • Stock up on food, water, and other necessities in case you are stuck at home for an extended period of time.
  • Avoid areas where the military is present.

With the divisions in the country today, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Martial law is a possibility, however unlikely. It’s important to know what it is, who can declare it, and how it would affect you. Stay informed and be prepared. Patriots, Militias, Freedom, Liberty, Constitution, and Military are all terms that may come up if martial law were to be declared. The best thing you can do is to be prepared and know your rights.

Have you ever experienced it firsthand? Let us know in the contact us section. Thank you for reading! We hope this blog post was informative and helpful. Stay safe out there!

Be sure to check out our other blog posts subject such as –  Are You a Veteran on a Government Watch List?

Please note that this blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, please consult a legal expert. Thank you.

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