We are here to help! Maybe you don’t always have time to read an entire blog post for a single question. So, here we provide some relatively short answers to some common self-defense law questions. We encourage you to seek out a full inderstanding of the referenced legal question so you can be fully informed and prepared to deal with an incident.

Q: What exactly is the Castle Doctrine?

A: The Castle Doctrine is a legal doctrine brought to this country from England in the form of Common Law. This concept declares that a persons home is a place that has certain protections. Briefly, when you are in your home, you have no duty to retreat from a threat (non-deadly or deadly) before you can use force to stop the threat. All fifty states have some form of Castle Doctrine. This doctrine does not give a defender the right to comit assault or murder just because he/she is in their home. It only address a defender’s right not to have to retreat or avoid a fight while inside the home. All the other rules of self-defense still apply – like imminence, proportionality, innocence, etc. Some state have extended this doctrine to include a defender’s occupied business and occupied vehicle.

Q: Can deadly force be used to stop a trespasser in or outside a dwelling?

A: Generally No. Home owners are not permitted to shoot or use other deadly force on trespassers in their homes or on their property just be cause they are trespassing or refuse to leave. Most states do not want their citizens injured or killed over a simple trespass situation. If, however, a trespasser were to somehow offer an immediate threat of great bodily harm or death, that threat can be met with a deadly force response. Homeowners may use any reasonable form of non-deadly force to remove a trespasser, but not deadly force (absent a deadly threat).