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What is the castle doctrine?

There are many laws in Connecticut that pertain to your home and your legal rights and obligations on the property you own. A common issue with property is trespassing or breaking and entering where people try to illegally come onto your property. Luckily, the law provides you with a chance to defend your property and remove the offender. One such law is called the castle doctrine, which the General Assembly explains is your right to protect your home.

If someone comes onto your property with the intent to harm you or your family, you can protect them using force thanks to this law. You do not have to try to get away from the trespasser. This law pertains only to your property, though. If you were to chase the person off your property, then you no longer have legal grounds to do anything against that person.

Most often the castle doctrine is used when a homeowner shoots someone breaking into his or her home. This is a legal use of the law. However, if the homeowner had chased the person into an alleyway and then shot him or her, the doctrine would not apply. This is an important part of the concept to understand. Defending yourself without trying to retreat first while not on your property falls under stand your ground laws, which are not related to your property and do not apply in this state.

It is imperative to understand that you should have an expectation of harm coming to you or your family before you evoke your rights under the castle doctrine. Someone walking across your lawn, for example, is not covered under this law. There must be a threat present. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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