The new law, the Castle Doctrine changes how you defend yourself

6:38 PM, Nov 30, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC-- If someone is trying to carjack you, do you have the right to use deadly force to stop that person?

A new law starting December 1 gives you backup. It's called the Castle Doctrine and defines a castle as your home, car or workplace. It allows you to use deadly force to protect yourself. 

When News 2 talked with Randy Jones of the Alamance County Sheriff's office he said, "This is not a license to hurt people for no reason." He added there are details you need to know. He explained the complexities in two scenarios for us.

Scenario #1 The Car As The Castle

Say you're in your car and someone is walking around it, standing close by, etc. Jones says no "reasonable person would think that's a situation to use deadly force." But if the person opens your car door, puts their hands on you, has a weapon or is threatening you, then you have a situation where deadly force could be used. Jones says, remember, while the law allows for force, it still has to hold up in court.

Scenario #2 The House As The Castle

Say you're at home in the garage and someone comes into your garage. Jones says you can't use deadly force just because they are on your property. Now, Jones adds, if the person comes at you with a weapon or threatens you, then again, a reasonable person would see the situation as a case when deadly force could be used.

Another big point: the new law doesn't require you to retreat before using deadly force. You no longer have to try and get away first. Using force can be your first option under the law.


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