The legal doctrine referred to as the Castle Doctrine holds that a person does not have to retreat if someone is intruding in their own home, under certain conditions. Keep reading to learn about the Castle Doctrine, how it can be used, and what it means for people charged with a crime after being the victim of a robbery or attempted robbery. If you are in this position, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.
The Facts of the Castle Doctrine
Penal Code 198.5 PC refers to the legal maxim that many call the Castle Doctrine. The “castle” is the person’s home and the law gives the resident of that home the right to use force – including deadly force – to defend themselves, their family, and their property against intruders. In order for it to be legally used, it must be shown that the person reasonably feared death or significant bodily harm to themselves or someone else in the home.
This only applies if the intruder illegally and forcibly entered (or tried to enter) the home, the resident knew or believed that the intruder was illegally entering their home, the intruder was not a member of the family or household, and the resident then used force that was intended to or likely to cause either death or serious injury.
The Prosecutor Has an Uphill Battle
If a person is charged with a crime and attempts to use the Castle Doctrine as their defense, then it is p to the prosecutor to prove that the accused did not have a reasonable fear of death or serious injury when they used force against the person intruding into their home. This doctrine essentially gives the benefit of the doubt to the resident. It could even be considered justifiable homicide if the person kills the intruder.
Situations in Which it Does Not Apply
Note that your criminal defense attorney can explain when and how this doctrine is not applicable. For example, if the victim was not in the home or attempting to enter the home, then the doctrine is not applicable. This would mean that if a person shoots someone on their front lawn and that person was not attempting to enter the accused’s home, the Castle Doctrine would not likely apply.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney if You Have Questions
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime and you have questions about this or other legal defense options, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation from an experienced attorney. We are standing by to help you find the best way forward.