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The Castle Law


The Castle Law is one of the most interesting Self-Defense laws that exists in the United States but is largely derived from the English Common Law. The original Book 4, Chapter 16 of William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England states that a man has the right to protect his house (also called his castle) and there is no possible way to lawfully enter the house, except for cases when it is needed for Public Safety (for example during a lawsuit). Americas Castle Doctrine version labeled as Law or a Defense of Habitation Law, goes a bit further, it designates one's place of residence (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as one's car or place of work) as a place in which one enjoys protection from illegal trespassing and violent attack and guarantees the right of the owner to use deadly force to protect his castle. The whole controversy here revolves around the fact that homicide is justified under the Castle Doctrine. As for the Canadian Criminal Code the laws on defense of property state that not more that necessary force can be used to protect the property, but no specific limits are specified. The Castle Law and the Canadian Criminal Code also give the same legal rights to any other innocent person legally inside the house during the incident. Not all the states support the Castle Doctrine. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia have the Castle Doctrine, other states Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wyoming have their own versions of Property Defense laws.

In various states the law has different limitations for instances in which the Castle Doctrine can be used, and what degree of retreat or non-deadly resistance (if any) is required before the usage of deadly force. At first the occupants of the house must be in the house legally. If the occupants of the house are fugitives or are using the Doctrine to assist fugitives their actions are not justified by the doctrine. Generally the doctrine can be used against a person who is trying (or tried) to unlawfully and/or forcibly enter the Castle (home, business or car). Police officers can enter the house only after a valid warrant was presented to the owner, in other cases it is illegal. Thats why in most of the movies, when a policemen in the U.S is entering the house for some unlawful investigation he can be shot on sight. The occupants of the house must also reasonably believe that the intruder intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death or intends to commit some other felony, such as arson or burglary. Also if the intrusion was provoked by the occupants of the house, the following use of any force may not be justifiable. The Castle Doctrine itself is a very interesting law mechanism that is definitely one of the cornerstones of the citizens rights in the United States, still this stone is very often used not in the way it was supposed to and even during the last years it triggered few controversial lawsuits.

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Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/immigration-articles/the-castle-law-1002404.html



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