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Castle Doctrine Laws by State

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Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Seeker2012 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:23 pm

This is very important to know where you stand when you have intruders on your property http://www.thecastledoctrine.com/index.html
( "A Wise Man's Day is Worth a Fools Life" ) and ("One Stands for Nothing will Fall for Anything") Everything is presented at face value, it is you who must research and come to a sound conclusion ( Don't Shoot The Messenger ) "If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby rburns962 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:51 pm

in oklahoma we have a law called "make my day" law witch is where if some one trust pass on ur land u have the right to shoot them if they a there to harm or loot off u or u just think there up to something that not there buiness
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby okie B » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:05 pm

Sorry to disillusion you, but that's not quite the case. Mere trespass is not sufficient reason to shoot someone in Oklahoma. There has to be threat of immediate physical harm to a person. If you are not in danger, if it is not an immediate threat, if it is obvious the person is not going to harm you or kill you, then you will be guilty of murder. The local pharmacist who is up for murder for shooting that boy who tried to rob him with a gun? He's not on trial for murder for the first shot. That one was perfectly legal. He's on trial for murder because he shot the kid, ran around the counter to chase off his accomplice, came back in, and shot him a few more times even though he was already incapacitated. Had he just shot him the one time, he would not be on trial right now, even if the kid had died. Whatever else you may think about Oklahoma's Make-My-Day law, do NOT think that it gives you license to shoot someone willy-nilly.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Lynda » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:46 am

"Section 8A. In the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall be no duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling."

This is MA. It didn't used to be this way until a test case in the Eighties, I believe. Prior to that the onus was on the home owner to find a means of escape which is entirely unreasonable.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby okie B » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:29 am

Almost every state goes one of those two directions -- duty to retreat, or right to stand your ground. Here in Oklahoma, they recognized the right to stand your ground in your own house quite a while ago with the Make-My-Day law, but they have since expanded it to include your place of business and vehicle as well.

It never hurts to remind people though -- just because your state's castle laws include a right to stand your ground, that does not mean you have the right to shoot just anyone on your property. Even if that particular statute for your state says that there is a presumption that you are acting in self-defense (like Oklahoma's law does), presumptions can be overcome or negated by a stronger presumption. And the word presumption does not mean quite the same thing in law that it means in everyday usage. It has specific legal connatations and implications, but the overall meaning is similar to regular use. As a general rule, even if your state has pro-homeowner castle laws, you must believe that you are in immediate danger in your home from an intruder who is not legally supposed to be there. That is a very loaded sentence, and if all of those factors are not in place, you run the risk of a murder charge or a manslaughter charge instead of protection under the castle laws. If you shoot a government agent who is allowed to come on your property, you're in trouble. If you shoot a police officer serving a warrant, you're in trouble. If someone breaks in, you tell him to halt, he does, and you ask him questions before you shoot him, you're in trouble. If a four-year old is crawling in your window and you shoot him, you're most likely in trouble (although not for certain). If someone breaks into your shed, and you go out and confront him and shoot him, you're in trouble. If someone climbs your fence and crosses your yard, but does not try to break into your house, and you shoot him, you're in trouble. If you set up a booby trap to kill or injure someone who tries to break into your house while you are gone, you're in trouble.

These laws are meant for self-defense protection only. They are not meant to protect property. They are not meant to be self-help solutions in any instance except a him-or-me situation brought on by someone else's wrongdoing. PLEASE do not think these laws are a permission to start shooting people.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Lynda » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:10 am

Okie, I agree.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Vina8 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:00 am

I wrote a post on the NC Forum Blog about protecting your rights when confronted by the police. http://www.northcarolinapreppersnetwork ... ed-by.html It is about
a homeowner who maced two young men (fraternity brothers) who were trespassing on his property. Apparently, this trespassing had happened before since a fraternity house was next door and the students would use his unfenced property as a shortcut. Calls to the police were not successful. This time he went into his dark yard and maced the two men. They brought charges against him, and he is being prosecuted by a zealous D.A.

What was interesting were the posts in reply to his story, particularly how he dealt with the police after the event. He did what I suspect many of us would do--try to be cooperative and reasonable since you obviously did nothing wrong and have nothing to hide. Imagine that you have finally had to take a violent action to protect yourself, family, or property. The adrenaline will be flowing, you will feel like the other party deserved what they got, and any reasonable person would agree that you were justified in taking the action you did. Why would you not want to talk to the police to give them your side. You really want them to understand. And besides, only guilty people ask for an attorney, right? Once they know what really happened, you won't have to get an attorney and can save all that money, right? Wrong.


The blog post includes some good advice from law enforcement about what to do (and not do.) I am sure Okie may have some helpful comments about it.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby okie B » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:15 am

I remember that blog. It is all good advice.

Every state has somewhat different laws and different attitudes about what a possible victim should do. Everyone should know what the law is in their own state. Some states still require a person to take all possible steps to retreat from a potentially lethal confrontation rather than to stand and fight. The reason for this is the belief that all human life is of value -- both yours and the person confronting you -- and all possible steps should be taken to avoid lethal force.

And there is a huge difference between defense of self and family and defense of property. Mere things are not considered as sacred as human life.

Having said that, please understand -- I am an Okie through and through. I firmly believe in the right to defend myself, particularly if some unknown person is entering my home or demonstrating some other threat to my continued physical well-being. BUT, there is a huge difference between defending yourself and implementing your own brand of justice. If you think you may plan on using potentially lethal force to protect yourself if ever placed in such a physcial confrontation, take the time NOW to learn what is legally allowed -- DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING. And PLEASE realize that protecting your STUFF is not going to be considered self-defense, even if it is your food or generator or whatever that you need to have. STUFF is STUFF. It is only if you are of the belief that your physical well-being is in imminent danger that you can claim self-defense. These castle laws, like in Oklahoma, where there is a presumption of imminent danger if someone is breaking into your house, are only presumptions on the aspect of imminent danger, only if it is your house or dwelling (you live there or are staying there), only if you are in the house or enter when the person is still there, etc., etc. If there is a stranger passed out in your living room when you get home, that presumption would be overcome because a passed out person is not going to kill you. If some kids are in your yard, they are not entering your house trying to kill you. If someone is in your shed taking your stuff, they are not trying to kill you. If you wait until a person is leaving your house, then sneak out of your hiding place and shoot them, that person was not trying to kill you. Castle laws are meant to reinforce self-defense laws, but you still have to meet the specific components to get the protection of the law. Killing another human being is against the law. Killing another human being while in defense of your own life is an exception. You have to PROVE the exception or else you have broken the law. To prove the exception, you must meet the criteria of the exception. Castle laws help you meet the criteria of the exception, but don't give you carte blanche to act. The devil is in the details on this one guys, but you need to know.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Laythar » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:31 pm

Interesting. So if I were to break into my neighbors house as long as I kept shouting I was only there to steal their stuff and kept a holstered weapon for my own self defense, they'd just have to let me take it, right? I am assuming they would call 911, but in our neck of the woods thats a 10 to 15 minute delay before they arrive. I think I could get a lot of stuff in 8 minutes with 7 for the getaway, might be a good second line of work. Then if they pull a weapon on me and I am forced to pull mine to defend myself from their life threatening and unlawful attempt to hurt me, I'd be within my rights as a thief? :shakeyes: Tis a weird and twisted world we live in. :crazy:

Maybe you should just practice the 3 S's - shoot true, :gunshooting: shovel fast and remain silent. :whistling:
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby okie B » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:00 pm

So if I were to break into my neighbors house as long as I kept shouting I was only there to steal their stuff and kept a holstered weapon for my own self defense, they'd just have to let me take it, right?


Nope. They could shoot you and in Oklahoma, at least, they would most likely still be covered by the castle law. See, a criminal breaking into your house can say anything he wants -- it doesn't have to be the truth. In Oklahoma, since there is a presumption that if someone is breaking into your house while you are in it, then you are considered to face an immediate threat of physical harm and can use defensive force to protect yourself. 21 O.S. Sec. 1289.25 states:

A. The Legislature hereby recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

B. A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

1. The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against the will of that person from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

2. The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

C. The presumption set forth in subsection B of this section does not apply if:

1. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not a protective order from domestic violence in effect or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;

2. The person or persons sought to be removed are children or grandchildren, or are otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or

3. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity.

D. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

E. A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle of another person is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

F. A person who uses force, as permitted pursuant to the provisions of subsections B and D of this section, is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force. As used in this subsection, the term "criminal prosecution" includes charging or prosecuting the defendant.

G. A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force, but the law enforcement agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

H. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection F of this section.

I. The provisions of this section and the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, Sections 1290.1 through 1290.26 of this title, shall not be construed to require any person using a pistol pursuant to the provisions of this section to be licensed in any manner.

J. As used in this section:

1. "Dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people;

2. "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest; and

3. "Vehicle" means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

So breaking into someone's house here in Oklahoma is an invitation to get shot. Period. However, that still does not mean the homeowner can shoot anyone on their property. Notice some of the distinctions that they make in the statute. The person must be entering or have entered the dwelling illegally. You can't just shoot the daughter's boyfriend in the house because he was likely given permission to enter by her, and so there is no illegal entry. You also can't just shoot your daughter for letting her boyfriend in as long as she lives there also. You can't shoot your ex-wife who has come to pick up the kids. You can't shoot your drug dealer coming in to pick up his latest shipment of drugs, or the cop who came to bust you both. You can't shoot the kids crossing your yard or the neighbor rummaging around in your shed.

Oklahoma's laws provide a lot of protection to the homeowner, but it is not absolute.

You can also protect yourself elsewhere, but notice the wording -- to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, -- which basically means, you can protect yourself, but the force you use needs to be in relation to the force used against you. If someone shoves you and you pull a gun out and shoot him, you are going to have a really difficult time proving that you believed it was necessary force to protect your life. If you are trying to prevent the commission of a felony, it must be a forcible felony. You can't just go shoot your accountant because he stole thousands of dollars out of your bank account even if it is a felony to do so. There are limitations involved here, but honestly, most of them are common-sense relational. They don't want you to take the law into your own hands, resort to self-help violence, or go be a vigilante. They want you to utilize the cops. However, they also don't want people to be victimized if they can prevent the harm at the moment, or be victimized again by lawsuits after the fact.

With rights come responsibilities. Okies like being able to take care of themselves. By law, we can...but there is still a line that citizens cannot cross without risking breaking the law themselves.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby North Idaho Patriot » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:33 pm

Okie B has added a lot of good info here. I'd hate to see this post get burried in the General posts section so I'm going to move it to the Okies Law section.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Crusis » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:24 pm

I saw a sign today that said, "Screw the dog, beware of owner." Then I notice this thread.

You come into my house without my permission, I'm going to kill you. I'm not talking about if I accidentally left the door unlocked and you walk in by mistake. I'm talking about if you break anything to enter. Then you are dead before you hit the floor. After that, you won't be around to present your side of the argument when the police show up. My only regret will be the blood splatter. I can't take the chance that your intentions will allow you to get the jump on me if I take the time to find out what you're up to. Nope. If you were somehow mistaken for breaking into my house, then Darwin just brought you home.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby TaffyJ » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:06 pm

:thumbsup:

I'm glad Louisiana has castle doctrine, but I wish it was as strongly worded as Texas and Oklahoma castle doctrine.

It so goes against my nature to not cooperate with the police. Sad to think I'd have to 'protect myself' against those whom I pay to protect and serve me. I know they're just guys who want to get home to their families too, and are just doing their jobs. I suppose with the way the world protects the criminals and persecutes the citizens, I should get used to the idea of playing lawyer games. Yuk. My hubby can be hot headed, especially when he feels a hint of injustice. I'll have to caution him about being open and honest if there's ever an incident. What a shame.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby okie B » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:56 pm

Here you go Crusis -- this appears to be the applicable castle law for Colorado:

18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.

(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.


http://www.michie.com/colorado/lpext.dl ... -h.htm&cp=

You might also want to go in and look at 18-1-704 because it discusses in more general terms the use of self-defense as an affirmative defense. I am not licensed to practice law in Colorado, so you might want to check with someone locally who is licensed or go into the Colorado statutes yourself and read what it says. It would appear that you have the right to use deadly force in your home if someone unlawfully enters, BUT you have to have the reasonable belief that they have or are going to commit another crime in the dwelling and use any level of physical force against anyone in the house. On the one hand, that sounds pretty open. On the other hand, it still leaves a lot of hoops that you have to jump through in proving your self-defense claim. You have to be really, really careful with the way conjunctions are used in statutes. For instance, look at (2) -- you, as the homeowner, would be "justified" in using force, including deadly force, against a person who has (1)entered (2)your home (3)unlawfully AND when (5)you have the (6)reasonable (7)belief (8)that this person has either (9)committed a crime in addition to the unlawful entry OR (10)is committing (11)or intends to commit (12)another crime (13)against a person OR (14) property in addition to the unlawful entry AND when (15)you (16)reasonably (17) believe that this person might use (18)physical force (19)against an occupant. All those numbers in that sentnce? Those are the components that you would have to analyze and possibly prove (based upon the conjunctions -- "and" means you have to have both; "or" means either).

So, just to summarize, Colorado does have a castle law that does provide you with some protection in the event you ever had to use deadly force against someone in your home. However, it could still be a bit of a pain for you if you ever had to do it. You might do a little more research in the statutes and look at some of the cases that they have cited to see how the courts are trending in that regard.
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Re: Castle Doctrine Laws by State

Postby Crusis » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:47 pm

I will just hope to never use it. I don't ever want to harm anyone, but if you violate the law you ask for it.

Thanks for the rundown, okie B, I appreciate it. Colorado Springs is a very conservative town compared to Denver, I suspect the cops would show up, look at the broken lock, window, etc and say. "Ok, self defense. Sounds good. We'll write it up." :)
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