As an American, you have the right to use reasonable force to protect your home, family, and things from an intruder if you reasonably believe that the use of
such force is necessary to stop the intrusion and protect what's yours.
In fact, contrary to popular belief, a home dweller pretty much can use any and all force necessary to repel intruders from imminent harm to your
The "Castle Doctrine."
The "Castle Doctrine" is a legal defense theory that gives a homeowner the right to protect his home with the use of deadly force. So, if a homeowner kills an intruder, and charges are brought
against him for homicide, he would raise the Castle Doctrine as a defense to his actions.
Castle Doctrine Requirements
Although the doctrine's precise rules vary from state-to-state, there are several general requirements:
- You must be inside of your home (front yard doesn't count)
- The victim (the person you shoot) must be attempting to commit or have committed an unlawful entry into your home
- You must prove that your use of deadly force was reasonable
Other Basic Rules
- The right of defense of property is not limited to the owner or occupier of the property; it may be exercised by an employee or family member.
- You may also protect the property of third persons -- such as friends or neighbors -- under certain circumstances.
- And you don't always have to pull the trigger. Under certain conditions, you may use a non-lethal mechanical device to protect real and personal property under
- However, you can't use any means of defending your property to which you yourself couldn't resort to in the case of an intruder. Indeed, you may be
charged with assault and battery if you cause injuries to trespassers by using traps, spring guns, concealed spears, or other instrumentalities of destruction, or from the use of
dogs. [You could argue, however, that the trap you laid was only to catch Bigfoot.]
- Even Montana, as a "Castle Doctrine" state, has its conditions.