The castle doctrine is a law that allows homeowners to use deadly force to protect their property. This law has been in place for centuries, but it has come under scrutiny in recent years. With the rise of home invasions and other crimes, many people wonder if the castle doctrine is still relevant. This guide will explore the history of the law and its current implications.
A Definitive Guide to the Castle Doctrine
Historians can trace the history of castle doctrine laws back to English common law. The English common law doctrine of castle doctrine was codified in the United States in the 18th century. As a legal principle, the castle doctrine provides a person with the right to use deadly force to defend their home, property, or themselves from an intruder. The doctrine has been expanded in some jurisdictions to include businesses and vehicles.
The castle doctrine embodies the idea that people have a right to defend themselves and their property and that they should not be required to retreat from an attacker. The castle doctrine has been codified in many states, and the laws vary from state to state. As one of Houston’s top bail bond agencies, ASAP Bail Bonds explains what the castle doctrine means for Texas homeowners. Call our Harris County office today for 24/7 service!
What is the Castle Doctrine?
The Texas castle doctrine is a law that allows people to use force to protect themselves, their homes, and their property. Officially, the castle doctrine comprises Texas Penal Codes 9.31 and 9.32, which discuss the use of non-deadly force and deadly force, respectively. As with many states, Texas law contains no duty to retreat before defending oneself or one’s property.
When discussing home defense cases in the context of the castle doctrine, reasonability and the necessity to use force are both important considerations. Under the castle doctrine in Texas, you are provided a presumption of using deadly force in certain circumstances.
When Can a Person Legally Use Deadly Force to Protect Their Property?
Under the castle doctrine, people may generally use non-deadly force when protecting their property. However, Texas law provides some exceptions for using deadly force. According to Penal Code 9.42, a person may use deadly force to defend their property if they deem it is necessary to prevent:
- theft at night, criminal mischief during nighttime, aggravated robbery, robbery, burglary, or arson;
- a thief from fleeing with property after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft at night.
The castle doctrine’s underlying concept clarifies that you have no duty to retreat when defending your “castle.” Your home is your haven, and you should be justified in using whatever means are reasonably necessary to prevent an intrusion or attack. ASAP Bail Bonds is committed to providing timely bail bonds services and educating people about local laws. If you or a loved one require a speedy release from jail, call ASAP Bail Bonds today!