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Does California Have a Castle Doctrine?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “A man’s home is his castle,” but does a homeowner have any legal rights to protect their castle, their family, and their belongings in it? The castle doctrine, also known as the castle law, the stand your ground law, or make my day law, gives citizens the right to protect themselves and their homes with force, and in some states they’re allowed to use deadly force.

The castle laws vary from state to state, so homeowners need to pay attention to their state laws. For example, in one state a homeowner may be protected legally if they use deadly force against an intruder, but in another state the exact same actions can mean the homeowner is prosecuted for manslaughter or murder.

States With Strong Castle Doctrine Laws

Most states have enacted some sort of castle doctrine law, however, some states have stronger laws that protect the homeowner more than others. Texas and Florida for example, have strong castle doctrine laws.

In Texas, homeowners are allowed to use force to protect their cars, their homes, and their place of employment against an intruder who unlawfully enters or tries to enter forcefully and attempts to remove someone from the vehicle or building by force, or attempts to commit a crime, such as rape, robbery, or murder. Under Texas’ castle doctrine law, a citizen can use force, even deadly force against an intruder.

The states with strong castle doctrine or stand your ground laws, include: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

If you notice, California is not listed as one of the states with a “strong castle doctrine” law. This is because California has a softer castle doctrine law.

Does California have a castle doctrine law?

Unlike states with a stronger castle doctrine law, California does not give homeowners much leeway when it comes to protecting their personal property. However, Section 198.5 does let California residents use deadly force when they have a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of their household” when someone unlawfully enters their residence.

California’s version of the castle doctrine only protects people in the home, it does not extend to vehicles or places of employment.

Are you being accused of committing a violent crime against someone who unlawfully entered your residence? For a strong defense under Sec. 198.5, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today!