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View Full Version : Does Castle Doctrine apply in CA?


SVPRApps
01-27-2010, 9:15 PM
I just want to run through 2 possible realistic scenarios (night/day) I'm not sure if LE treats night/day differently. Night being most risky and dangerous

At night, hear loud crash in the house, grab gun/phone, dial 911 once confirmed there is intruder in the house. Confront intruder with a gun and tell him to leave, that cops are on their way. Since it is night time, you cannot clearly see if he has any kind of weapon on him, whether it be a blunt object like a bat, sharp object like a knife, or...a gun. At this point, he makes fast movements towards you and is obvious he is not fleeing or running away but running at you. At this point is it okay to shoot? Again, I will never shoot someone that's fleeing/running away, someone complied with my threats that I have a gun. I'll just let the cops that I called in to find him running away on foot

and

Daytime, someone breaks in, you call the cops as usual, point gun at him. He is visibly unarmed and you just "detain" him at gunpoint until the police arrives to arrest him on trespassing/breaking and entering/ etc charges. Happy ending.

Are these acceptable? As soon as you shoot the gun, you escalate the situation and I'm not too sure about the laws but I don't want to get tied up into some deep legal issues.

Meplat
01-27-2010, 9:28 PM
Your daytime scenarieo is problematic if he runs. If he runs don't shoot him. Your night time scanarieo is solid.

Ruel of thumb; if you fear for your life, or that of others, soot. That is all you need to know. If you truely fear for your life, or that of others you will probably be fine.

A lot of CA DAs will give a lot of slack, but dont count on it. Ours for instance has refused to prosicute homeowners who have shot intruders fleeing over the back fence. BUT dont count on it.:43:



I just want to run through 2 possible realistic scenarios (night/day) I'm not sure if LE treats night/day differently. Night being most risky and dangerous

At night, hear loud crash in the house, grab gun/phone, dial 911 once confirmed there is intruder in the house. Confront intruder with a gun and tell him to leave, that cops are on their way. Since it is night time, you cannot clearly see if he has any kind of weapon on him, whether it be a blunt object like a bat, sharp object like a knife, or...a gun. At this point, he makes fast movements towards you and is obvious he is not fleeing or running away but running at you. At this point is it okay to shoot? Again, I will never shoot someone that's fleeing/running away, someone complied with my threats that I have a gun. I'll just let the cops that I called in to find him running away on foot

and

Daytime, someone breaks in, you call the cops as usual, point gun at him. He is visibly unarmed and you just "detain" him at gunpoint until the police arrives to arrest him on trespassing/breaking and entering/ etc charges. Happy ending.

Are these acceptable? As soon as you shoot the gun, you escalate the situation and I'm not too sure about the laws but I don't want to get tied up into some deep legal issues.

Surf&Skeet
01-27-2010, 9:35 PM
What people need to remember is that there really is no clear cut rule with respect to defending yourself. It depends on the circumstances of each case, and, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on the people chosen), it also depends on the jury. Because they are the ones who will decide whether your actions were "reasonable" or not. That's it. Every time you defend yourself you are potentially putting your fate in the hands of 12 strangers. There is no mathematical calculation to let you know whether you were justified in any action. A jury could convict one person on virtually identical facts of another case where the defendant was convicted.

racinginthestreets
01-27-2010, 10:06 PM
I believe in any case of self defense when using lethal force the criteria used, to decide if the act was justifiable, is whether a reasonable person would have acted in the same manner. California does NOT have a duty to retreat law, and we can use lethal force in our homes to protect ourselves, or others in our home, if we reasonably believe a life is being threatened with great bodily harm.

Unfortunately, the fallout for protecting yourself and family in your home can lead to your being charged with a crime. However, I don't think most of us would have the time to worry how a judge or jury would view our actions at the time we are making that decision of whether to fire or not.

And that is why our decision to act is held to the standard of the "reasonable man" test.

cineski
01-27-2010, 10:33 PM
I would not recommend confronting anyone. Lock yourself in your room w/ gun in hand, dial 911, if bg attempts to enter your room then shoot him. Leaving your room may put yourself at risk of getting shot.

Alaric
01-27-2010, 10:37 PM
California does not have a "strong" castle law, like, say, Texas. But we do have one, of sorts. It doesn't offer the same protection of property as a true castle doctrine would.

Section 198.5: Exusable homicide. (http://www.calgunlaws.com/index.php/california-law/42-california-statutes/211.html)

Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant
or substantial physical injury.

The only fault I can find in your nighttime example is I wouldn't have waited for the perp to rush you. Using that example, and CPC 198.5 (above), I would have shot on sight after making damn sure this was an intruder and not your kid or a drunken and confused neighbor. If you wait until he comes at you (within a certain distance around 20 feet) he has the upper hand. FBI training says that within 22 feet you are at the disadvantage with a gun. A perp with a knife has the upper hand on you.

DedEye
01-27-2010, 10:39 PM
The Wiki and FAQ do not currently have a section on California's Castle Doctrine or self defense.

Anyone feel like fixing that? (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/)

Alaric
01-27-2010, 10:49 PM
I would not recommend confronting anyone. Lock yourself in your room w/ gun in hand, dial 911, if bg attempts to enter your room then shoot him. Leaving your room may put yourself at risk of getting shot.

Before you do that it would be a good idea to leave any valuables on your front door step before adjourning for the night. That way a predator will be thankful to you for your submissiveness and less likely to prey upon you. :rolleyes:

Totally wrong. It is your right to investigate any "bumps in the night" in your own home. You can't reasonably be expected to lock yourself in your bedroom at every creak in your floorboards. Get yourself out there and protect your family. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Meplat
01-28-2010, 1:02 AM
Not practical for a father with children spread around the house.


I would not recommend confronting anyone. Lock yourself in your room w/ gun in hand, dial 911, if bg attempts to enter your room then shoot him. Leaving your room may put yourself at risk of getting shot.

SirMooAlot
01-28-2010, 3:21 AM
Your night time is all good. Remember, breaking into your house involves tools (crowbar, screwdriver, rock, etc) and these tools can be use as deadly weapons. So a burglar can be reasonably assumed to have these potential weapons. So them advancing on you could mean they intent to use these weapons on you.

I highly recommend trying to take some sort of POST class regarding use of force if you have a gun for home defense. You want to be able to justify your deadly force the way a cop would be able to

GrizzlyGuy
01-28-2010, 6:08 AM
The Wiki and FAQ do not currently have a section on California's Castle Doctrine or self defense.

Anyone feel like fixing that? (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/)

I can take a shot at it if you like. Our "castle doctrine" is basically 195 PC (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/195.html) through 199 PC (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/199.html). If you want me to do this, please PM me info on how to add a page, as I only know how to edit.

MP301
01-28-2010, 6:40 AM
The reality is this..... If you are actually in fear of your life (or anothers life)and you are a reasonable person, you shoot its because you think you (or another) could be killed. At that point, It kinda doesnt matter quite as much what some monday morning quarter back DA thinks, does it? If you really think that you or another might be killed by the circumstances, then wouldnt it be a privledge to be arrested and maybe even go to trial considering it would mean your alive? Right?

Anyway, just about everywhere has some degree of castle doctrine...that is just a generic term. CA's is pretty good, Florida's is better because it doesnt allow people to sue in civil court in one of these situations where as CA is the sue happy Capitol...

cineski
01-28-2010, 6:44 AM
I'm not talking about investigating. I'm talking about you know for sure someone's in your house. Everyone has different points of view: Mine is an apartment where everyone with 2 and 4 legs are in my room. If someone's in my place, we'll know about it right away (likely because the dogs and with a visual on the apartment). That said, going out and playing commando to clear the room IS setting yourself up to get shot IMO which is what I was referring to. Now, if you have family in other parts of the house, then I agree to get out and protect.

Before you do that it would be a good idea to leave any valuables on your front door step before adjourning for the night. That way a predator will be thankful to you for your submissiveness and less likely to prey upon you. :rolleyes:

Totally wrong. It is your right to investigate any "bumps in the night" in your own home. You can't reasonably be expected to lock yourself in your bedroom at every creak in your floorboards. Get yourself out there and protect your family. Don't let anyone tell you different.

mej16489
01-28-2010, 1:46 PM
Keep in mind that 198.5 is only an affirmative defense if all the conditions are met.

Namely:
1) the intruder used force to enter the home (i.e. didn't walk in through an unlocked front door or through an already open window)
2) the intruder is not someone who lives in the house.
3) the intruder is not a family member.
4) the intruder unlawfully entered the home.

1 & 4 you must at least reasonably believe to have happened.


198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant
or substantial physical injury.

anyone feel free to grab this for the wiki...

CSDGuy
01-28-2010, 3:05 PM
Exactly... California has a Castle Doctrine of sorts, but you're not immune from civil suit, even for a good, justified shoot...

hawk81
01-28-2010, 4:16 PM
Its better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

AndrewMendez
01-28-2010, 4:32 PM
The issue I see with your night scenario, is you cant see the bad guy. How would it sound to a Jury of Anti's when the defense is questioning you on whether or not you could see who you where shooting, none the less why? You need to get a light on any gun you plan on using for HD. If this were my house at night, I can not, will not, stay in my room to see what they have planned for the rest of my family, I would get out as soon as I heard something, and proceed to locate the threat.