Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
The Best Lawyers in America
Avvo Clients' Choice
Avvo Rating 10.0
National College for DUI Defense
National Collage for DUI Defense
American Council Of Second Amendment Lawyers
Avvo Clients Choice Award
Avvo Rating
Trial Lawyers University
Best Lawyers
James Publishing Author
Super Lawyers
Trial Lawyers College

Michigan Castle Doctrine

Gun Michigan’s Castle Doctrine of self defense provides that under certain circumstances you may legally use both deadly and non-deadly force against an intruder in your home.

Also, that if you kill such an intruder, you will be protected against prosecution by a presumption that you acted in self-defense.

Before you use deadly force there are several important things for you to know. A paraphrase of the Michigan Castle Doctrine of self-defense says:

If a person is in the process of breaking and entering your home (or business or vehicle), [to remove a person or property] or has already broken and entered your home and is still present in the home, or is unlawfully attempting to remove another person from your home against their will, you may use deadly force if (and only if) you honestly and reasonably believe that the individual (you shoot dead) is engaging in the described conduct.

A Breaking and Entering or Home Invasion Must be Occurring

The courts have interpreted the law paraphrased above such that in order for you to lawfully use deadly force, it must be objectively true that a breaking and entering or attempted breaking and entering, or home invasion is taking place.

This is referred to as an objective rather than a subjective standard. Consequently, it’s not enough for you to simply have an honest and reasonable belief that a breaking and entering is taking place. If you’re wrong in your belief, and it’s later determined that a breaking and entering was not taking place, then the defense will not apply.

This unfortunate and narrow “objective requirement” for this defense of home law arises out of the case of People v. Wafer. In this case, the court began with the proposition that a successful claim of self-defense “requires a finding that the defendant acted intentionally, but that the circumstances justified his actions.”

What is the Castle Doctrine Presumption / When Does it Apply?

The text of this Michigan self defense law specifically indicates that a shooter is entitled to a rebuttable presumption they acted in self-defense if they have “an honest and reasonable belief that imminent death, sexual assault, or great bodily harm to himself or another, will occur” only if the individual against whom deadly force is used is:

  1. in the process of breaking and entering a dwelling or business premises or committing home invasion or
  2. has broken and entered a dwelling or business premises or committed home invasion and is still present in the dwelling or business premises, or
  3. is unlawfully attempting to remove another individual from a dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle against his or her will.
What About the Honest and Reasonable Belief?

For the Castle Doctrine to apply, you must honestly and reasonably believe at least one of the three things listed above.

If the Castle Doctrine does apply, and you are being charged or investigated for a crime, then you won’t have to prove that you were afraid of being seriously hurt, raped or killed. It will be presumed that the you honestly and reasonably had such a belief. When you have a claim of self defense, this presumption is a powerful protection afforded by Michigan law. This presumption does not exist with a Stand Your Ground self defense. When Will the Castle Doctrine Presumptions Will Not Apply

Another thing to know is this; even if you have self-defense based on the above criteria, there are instances when the presumption still doesn’t apply. For example:

  • The person against whom the force is being used has a legal right to be in the house – no presumption;
  • The person is the parent, grandparent or legal guardian of a child who is being removed from the home – no presumption; or,
  • If the person is a police officer who has entered or is attempting to enter the home in the performance of his or her official duties, then again, no presumption.

The law of self-defense of home is complicated and use of deadly or non-deadly force is always fraught with legal peril. If you keep a firearm in your home and intend to use it in self-defense, it is important that you be well informed about the law, and well trained in the use of force.

You may also wish to consider the use of force insurance to cover the cost of your legal defense in the event that charges are brought.

Hire The Michigan Self Defense Experts

Best Law FirmsIn a recent media appearance, Michigan self-defense lawyer Patrick Barone explained Michigan’s self defense laws, including the difference between the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground Law. The title of the article is Lawyer explains Michigan’s Castle Doctrine law: When you can and can’t shoot an intruder.

If you are facing charges arising out of a self defense incident, contact the 2nd Amendment self defense lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm. We offer free no obligation consultations and answer the phones 24/7.

Excellence in Criminal Defense - Barone Defense Firm
Call Today! FREE Consultation Lawyer and Receive Immediate Attention for Your Criminal Law Case Patrick T. Barone is a Michigan Super Lawyer, who has maintained continuous top attorney ratings since 2007. In addition, the Michigan native is the author of multiple books on OWI, DUI and criminal law. The OUIL attorney near me has lectured at over 80 legal seminars all over America. He leads Barone Defense Firm in providing aggressive legal warriors for each client's criminal case.

Contact us 24 hours a day at our law firm’s easy to remember toll-free number, 1-877-ALL-MICH or 877-255-6424, for a free criminal case review. The Michigan attorneys near me at Barone Defense Firm travel the entire Great Lakes State, to help citizens in legal trouble in Michigan for alleged criminal law violations.

For your FREE lawyer consultation, call today to learn how to protect yourself from a possible unwarranted conviction. What do you have to lose, when the free legal advice with our litigation team’s criminal lawyers near me can answer many tough questions?

Client Reviews
Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.