Submit ZIP Code

Got a Quick Question?

(120 characters remaining)
100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

What is the Castle Doctrine?

Self-Defense Doctrine

By:

The Castle Doctrine is a controversial self-defense provision that allows for the use of force, including deadly force, within one’s home.

Each state has its own laws regarding if, and to what extent, a homicide is justified when it occurs in one’s own home.

Castle Doctrine Explained

Based on the English Common Law provision that one’s home is one’s “castle”, the Castle Doctrine is a popular yet controversial law that allows for a person whose home is under attack to use force upon the attacker.

As each state has its own Castle laws (just like the 3 strike law), there are a number of limitations and exclusions to the law. Generally speaking, though, the occupant:

  • must believe that the intruder intends to do serious harm
  • must believe that the intruder intends to commit a felony
  • must not have provoked the intruder or threat of harm
  • may be protecting himself or any other within the residence
  • may need to announce his presence and intention to retaliate

If you’re facing criminal charges for an event that may fall under the Castle doctrine, a local defense attorney can help you understand how this legal theory may apply to your case.

Submit ZIP Code

In all cases, the occupant must legally be in the residence, and the intruder must be there illegally. Additionally, Castle laws may extend these rights to a workplace, car, or other residence where the occupant is legally.

In some states, the Castle Doctrine provides complete immunity, including from future civil suits brought forth by the intruder and/or the intruder’s family.

Stand Your Ground vs. Duty to Retreat

States that have adopted the Castle Doctrine have done so in a number of ways.

One of the most prevalent is the Stand Your Ground clause, which states that a homeowner who is under perceived threat of attack has no obligation to try to escape his or her attacker before resorting to deadly force.

On the opposite side is the Duty to Retreat, which states that force should be a last resort, and the homeowner must, within reason, try to escape his attacker before retaliating.

State Passage of the Castle Doctrine

Currently, there are a number of states which have passed laws in favor of some version of the Castle Doctrine, including:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Additionally, some states have passed laws that encompass parts of the Castle Doctrine without explicitly calling them such.

Some states have also passed a “weak” version of the Castle Doctrine that keeps the duty to retreat but still allows for the use of deadly force in a home invasion.

Some of these states include:

  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • New York

A defense attorney may be your best resource in determining if the Castle Doctrine may be a viable defense in your case.

Protect Your Rights: Speak with a Local Defense Lawyer Today

To connect with a criminal defense attorney, simply call us toll-free at 877-445-1059 or fill out the no-obligation free case evaluation below to schedule your consultation.

The above summary of the Castle Doctrine is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on the Castle Doctrine, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.


PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT: THIS WEB SITE IS A GROUP ADVERTISEMENT AND THE PARTICIPATING ATTORNEYS ARE INCLUDED BECAUSE THEY PAY AN ADVERTISING FEE. It is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal services plan. Total Criminal Defense is not a law firm. Your request for contact will be forwarded to the local lawyer who has paid to advertise in the ZIP code you provide. Total Criminal Defense does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who participates in the network. It does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The information contained herein is not legal advice. Any information you submit to Total Criminal Defense may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. All photos are of models and do not depict clients. All case evaluations are performed by participating attorneys. An attorney responsible for the content of this Site is Kevin W. Chern, Esq., licensed in Illinois with offices at 25 East Washington, Suite 510, Chicago, Illinois 60602. To see the attorney in your area who is responsible for this advertisement, please click here or call 866-200-8052.

FLORIDA ONLY: Total Criminal Defense is considered a lawyer referral service in the state of Florida under the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. By all other standards, Total Criminal Defense is a group advertisement and not a lawyer referral service.

If you live in Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, New York or Wyoming, please click here