California’s “Castle Doctrine” (also known as the “Stand Your Ground” policy) refers to §198.5 of the California Penal Code. Technically, California is not a “Stand Your Ground” state, though its Castle Doctrine is a nearly identical policy. The difference here is that the policy generally protects a person while he is in his home, or “castle,” which extends to his workplace or other real property.
Different states have Castle Doctrines as well. However, the rules involved with each state’s Castle Doctrine differ, depending on the state. Speak with a California criminal defense attorney about the charges you face today.
The Castle Doctrine
California’s Castle Doctrine states that you are within your right to use deadly force in your home if you reasonably believe you are in grave danger. For instance, if an armed robber forces his way into your home and points a gun at you, you are permitted under the Castle Doctrine to use deadly force, by way of a gun or other means, to protect yourself, your family, and your home.
However, just because you can use this as a defense under the law does not necessarily mean a jury will see it that way. If you are the defendant in a court case and want to use the Castle Doctrine as a defense, one of our experienced lawyers can help.
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Self-Defense While Not at Home
Suppose you’re at work when someone puts you in a situation wherein you feel reasonably threatened to use deadly force. What then?
California law would then classify this situation as “justifiable homicide.” This means that a jury is to find you innocent of the crimes of assault, homicide, or other similar charges if:
- You reasonably believed there was a possibility that you could be hurt or killed; and
- You reasonably believed that the only way to stop this from happening was to use force against the other person; and
- You did not use more force than necessary to stop the threat.
That last point is key. If a person broke into your home but was unarmed, and you shot and killed that person, this would be an example of using more force than necessary to stop the threat. If, however, the person pointed a gun at you, as in the earlier example, your shooting that person would be justified under the Castle Doctrine.
Under California law, you are also not required to run away from a dangerous situation before attempting to defend yourself. Some states argue that you should try to escape the situation or “retreat,” but California is no one of those states. In California, you would still be protected under the law if you chased your attacker, so long as you were acting in such a way as to neutralize the threat.
Self-Defense as a Legal Defense
There are several crimes in which self-defense may be considered a legitimate defense. These crimes can include:
A conviction for any of these crimes can have serious consequences for your life and future. In California, the defendant does not have to raise a “stand your ground” defense. The judge is responsible for instructing the jury to consider whether you did, in fact, “stand your ground” when you took action.
However, if the judge does not make this recommendation, and if the jury is unaware of it, you may face a lengthy jail sentence and other serious consequences. You would lose all protections under the Castle Doctrine if you were the aggressor. As long as you were not the first to strike, our lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can help you build a case for self-defense.
Even if you were mistaken in your belief that your life was in danger, so long as you reasonably believed you were in danger, the jury could acquit you of all charges.
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How to Find a Criminal Defense Attorney
When you are staring criminal charges in the face, you need a tough, experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. In order to find the best attorney for your particular situation, you should seek referrals from those who used an attorney for a stand-your-ground situation.
Meet with multiple criminal defense attorneys so that you can ask them all the same questions about the case and how they handle this type of charge. You can then make an informed decision about which one to hire to defend your rights.
Finding a California criminal defense attorney should not be taken lightly. Call Simmrin Law Group as soon as possible after being officially charged by the prosecutor. You do not want to delay the process of creating a strong defense to the charges in a stand-your-ground case.
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Are You Facing Charges for “Standing Your Ground”? Call Us Now!
If you believed you were in grave danger and used deadly force to stop the threat, you might still be charged with a crime. These crimes are serious, and you should not attempt to fight them alone. Our criminal defense lawyers have helped juries understand how certain situations require individuals to act in self-defense to protect themselves, their homes, and their families.
Fill out the form to the right or give us a call to speak with one of the Simmrin Law Group’s skilled criminal defense lawyers. Our lawyers offer a free consultation, with no obligation to retain them. Let us review your case and help you make the best decision for your future.