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Where does the Castle Doctrine end?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The Castle Doctrine is useful in self-defense cases because it shows that people are allowed to protect property that they own. This could be your home or your place of business, for instance. It is property that you are legally allowed to be on, and you can defend it from someone else who is not.

This is important because it eliminates any duty to retreat. You don’t have to try to avoid the confrontation by leaving your property. You can use self-defense to protect yourself and others in the home, and also simply to protect the property that you own.

But where does this end? Could you accidentally take things too far and find yourself facing serious assault charges?

It ends when you leave your property

The castle doctrine is different from “stand your ground” laws because it means that your duty to retreat is only waived when you are on your property. If you leave that property, then the castle doctrine no longer applies.

For instance, if someone tries to break into your home while your family is asleep, you can use force to defend yourself and your family. But, if they then leave the scene and you get in your car and follow them, you can no longer claim the castle doctrine as a defense for anything that happens when you catch up with them. 

This area of the law can be complex and the ramifications are very serious, so you need to explore all of the defense options you have with an experienced criminal defense attorney.