What Is the Castle Doctrine?

Posted by Jarrett P. AmbeauNov 10, 20200 Comments

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Louisiana Stand Your Ground Laws

Imagine this. It is 3 a.m. and you wake up to the sound of footsteps in your living room downstairs. You check your outdoor security camera footage to see if anyone broke into your house. To your surprise, someone did, in fact, break into your home. Before you can call 9-1-1, however, someone opens your bedroom door and is armed with a gun. You quickly whip out your handgun from your bedside table and shoot the suspect, eventually killing them.

This scenario exemplifies the Castle Doctrine, also known as the “stand your ground” law, in action.

Although you technically committed homicide, Louisiana's justifiable homicide law protects you from facing criminal charges. Let's take a look at key provisions under LA Revised Statues § 14:20:

  • A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and in a place where they have a right to be has no duty to retreat before using deadly force and may stand their ground and meet force with force.
  • Prosecutors cannot consider the possibility of retreat as a factor in determining whether or not the person who used deadly force had a reasonable belief that deadly force was reasonable and necessary to prevent unlawful entry or a violent or forcible felony involving life or great bodily harm.
  • A homicide is justifiable when committed in self-defense after a person believes they are in imminent danger of losing their life or suffering great bodily harm, and that the killing is necessary to save themself from that danger.
  • A homicide is justifiable when committed by a person who was lawfully inside a dwelling, business, or motor vehicle when the conflict began against a person who attempts to make or has made an unlawful entry into such places, and the person committing the homicide reasonably believes that using deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or to compel the intruder to leave the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle.

In these circumstances, a person is justified in their use of force if the perpetrator was unlawfully and forcibly entering or had already done so, and the person knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring or had occurred.

Facing Homicide Charges in Baton Rouge?

You are the only person that truly knows the dangers presented in the heat of the moment of your situation, no one else does. Life-or-death situations trigger fight-or-flight responses, therefore you should not be frightened at the prosecutor's attempts to convict you of homicide. Your case is defendable.

As a proven Baton Rouge criminal defense attorney, Jarrett Ambeau is equipped with the knowledge, experience, and defense strategies needed to argue that your alleged offense was justified. He can formulate a compelling defense strategy utilizing this affirmative defense outlined in Louisiana's stand your ground laws. You can depend on our firm to provide honest, realistic legal counsel, and ultimately, some peace of mind.

Contact us online or call (225) 330-7009 to learn more!

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