Castle Doctrine


When I took the course for my permit to carry a concealed weapon, I was walked through many state laws that apply to me here in Ohio. One was the Castle Doctrine.

Pre 2008

Apparently before 2008 the law said that you had to make an attempt to retreat from someone who was a threat of bodily harm or death to you or someone around you. This was the case even in your home or vehicle. If you shot someone who was a threat to you before you attempted a retreat, then you were seen by the law as being in the wrong.

Post 2008

When the law was changed in 2008, that part about retreat was amended regarding a situation in your legal residence or vehicle. You do not first have to attempt to retreat before using deadly force if you or someone around you are being threatened by bodily harm or death.

But you may not use deadly force to simply defend property. If you do (even under the changes from 2008), you will be found guilty.

2 Scenarios

So it now goes something like this:

If someone breaks into your house and you and your loved ones are not under threat of being killed or hurt, you don’t have to run out the back door, but neither may you shoot the intruder. An example of this is a stupid kid breaking into your house unarmed because of a dare from a friend. That kid may even take some of your stuff, but if they aren’t a threat, you can’t shoot.

On the other hand, if a large, grown man breaks into your home with a weapon in his hand, you don’t have to run and you may shoot him. It’s obvious by the size of the man and the existence of the weapon that you (or your loved ones) are in danger of being hurt or killed.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

If you ever have to shoot someone in your home, you must be able to prove to a court of law that you believed that you or someone around you was in immediate danger of serious bodily injury or death. If you can’t prove that, you’re probably going to jail.

This is the Castle Doctrine law for Ohio. Other states have different laws and you need to make yourself familiar with what exists in your state.


Do you understand the Castle Doctrine of your state? How is it different?

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