/ 5.10.24

Is California a Castle Doctrine State?

Written by: Doug Ridley

Your Right to Use Force If an Intruder Enters Your Home

The State of California recognizes your right to protect your home from an intruder through their Castle Doctrine. The Castle Doctrine has been codified into California law under Penal Code Section 198.5. It notes that a person’s reasonable fear of great bodily injury or death is presumed when a person unlawfully and forcibly enters their home.

At Ridley Defense, we understand this may be a challenging time for your family. Not only has your home been broken into, but now you are facing criminal charges related to the force you used to stop the intruder. Our attorneys will help you navigate the legal process and work with you to secure the most favorable disposition possible in your case.

If you were arrested for a crime committed while defending your California home, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

What Is the Castle Doctrine?

A Castle Doctrine allows a person to use reasonable force, including lethal force, to protect their home from an intruder. Many states across the country have adopted or codified a Castle Doctrine. 

Is California a Castle Doctrine State?

California is a Castle Doctrine state. Pursuant to Penal Code Section 198.5, a person in their own home is presumed to have had a reasonable fear of great bodily injury or death when someone unlawfully and forcibly enters their home. Therefore, their use of force, even lethal force, may be justified under the law. There is no duty to retreat under California law. 

Under What Circumstances Does the Castle Doctrine Protect You?

The Castle Doctrine in California protects a person who uses force, even deadly force, against an intruder as long as the force was not used against another family or household member. 

State law recognizes that a person may act in self-defense if they have a reasonable fear of harm. Penal Code section 198.5 notes that a reasonable fear of harm is presumed when a person unlawfully or forcibly enters another person’s residence. 

The Castle Doctrine will not protect a person who used force against a person who was not trying to unlawfully or forcibly enter their home. However, you still have the right to defend yourself if you reasonably believe that you are at risk of imminent harm. 

What Is Considered Great Bodily Injury?

California law defines great bodily injury as a “significant or substantial physical injury.” 

Contact Our Office to Schedule a Consultation

Were you arrested for using force against an intruder that entered your home in Ventura or the surrounding areas? Our legal team may be able to help you. Contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

At Ridley Defense, we are well-versed in taking on even the most challenging cases. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work with you to get the best possible outcome in your case. Call now to discuss your case directly with a member of our team. Get the help you need today. We proudly serve clients in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. 

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