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What is the castle doctrine?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Sometimes when a murder case goes to court, the person accused of the crime has a valid defense under the law. One such defense is the castle doctrine, which The Texas Tribune explains is a law that allows you to protect your home from someone trying to harm you or your family. This doctrine allows for the use of deadly force.

Before you can use the castle doctrine as a defense, you need to make sure you understand it. This law has some specific rules and requirements so it will not work in every case.

Murder in self-defense

The first thing to understand is that evoking the castle doctrine is really making a self-defense claim. This law provides you with the legal right to kill someone who is a threat to your own safety, just like any other self-defense law.

The details

The most important aspect of the law is that it requires you to commit the crime in defense of yourself while on your property. Your property may include your car, your house or your business.

In addition, the force you use needs to be reasonable. This means that it makes sense in the context of what was happening at the time. For example, if someone breaks into your home with a gun and intends to shoot you, then you shooting him or her is reasonable.

Finally, you cannot provoke the person you use force against. In most cases, this is not an issue, but it is worth mentioning because you cannot do anything to escalate the situation and create danger on purpose.