What’s the Castle Doctrine?

While it’s a widely accepted legal principle that a person has the right to self-defense and the defense of others, there are certain limitations. In New York, self-defense laws are designed to protect victims of violent crimes. However, they dictate the extent to which a victim may legally defend themselves from imminent threats. Generally, an individual has a “duty to retreat,” meaning they must attempt to flee to avoid harm before resorting to force. The Castle Doctrine is an exception that justifies using healthy or reasonable force when an intruder enters one’s private property. While an individual maintains the right to protect themselves from an aggressor, the scary truth is that they may still face assault or manslaughter charges. If this is the case, it’s in your best interest to retain the legal services of an experienced Rockland County Criminal Defense Attorney who can fight to protect your rights. 

What’s self-defense?

As mentioned above, every person has a fundamental right to defend themselves from an attack. However, some people use “self-defense” to justify unwarranted aggression. When this is the case, it could result in criminal charges, meaning they can face severe consequences such as serving jail time, even if they believed they were merely defending themselves. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what self-defense entails.

If you believe that you or someone else is in immediate danger of being seriously injured, you have the right to defend yourself or others against force (or threats of force) from another person. For example, if someone is pointing a gun at you, giving you a reason to believe they intend to harm you, you may be justified in using reasonable force to contain the threat to preserve your well-being. Therefore, self-defense is using force to protect oneself, another person, or their property from the threat of an aggressor.

When an individual asserts the affirmative claim of self-defense, they maintain that they used some force towards another but that their actions were appropriate because they were used to stop someone else from using unlawful force against them. Ultimately, your specific situation plays a significant role in determining whether or not an aggressive act constitutes self-defense.

What’s the difference between “stand your ground” and the Castle Doctrine?

The Castle Doctrine dictates that a person maintains the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home. This principle perceives a person’s home as their castle. As such, they don’t have to retreat from their home even if they can safely do so, meaning they have the right to defend it. In contrast, stand-your-ground laws allow you to use proportional force to protect yourself anywhere you have a legal right to be without retreating. Both doctrines require no duty to retreat. The primary difference between these two doctrines is that with the Castle Doctrine, you’re limited to protecting your residence.

If you’ve been involved in a violent encounter, please don’t hesitate to contact a qualified attorney from the Law Office of Carl Spector, who can help defend your rights and effectively combat your criminal charges.