Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Best Law firms 2022
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

Michigan Castle Doctrine

Here in the state of Michigan, you won’t find the term “Castle Doctrine” in the Self-Defense Act or any other statute. Instead, the concept relates to the old expression that “a man’s home is his castle.” The concept of an enhanced right to use force to protect your home has existed since the times of old, eventually being passed down by case law. While there was no duty to retreat within the home if you were attacked, the duty to retreat could still be required in certain situations.

However, in 2006, the Castle Doctrine concept was adapted into a statute to provide an increased right of self-defense. The enhancement was added to the Self-Defense Act, commonly known as Stand Your Ground, which is described here (provide link to MI Stand Your Ground). Stand Your Ground means that you have no legal duty to retreat prior to the use of force for self-defense or defense of others.

Under that act, you must “honestly” and “reasonably” believe that “imminent” danger of unlawful use of force exists before exercising your right to self-defense or defense of others.[1] Based upon the statutory Castle Doctrine, “honestly,” “reasonably,” and “imminently” are presumed, if the defense occurs in certain locations.[2] The specific locations where Castle Doctrine applies are: a dwelling,[3] a business,[4] or an occupied vehicle.[5] 

Please note, the presumption only applies if the attacker is engaged in a breaking and entering or home invasion of a dwelling or business. It also applies to any of the above premises, if someone is being unlawfully removed against their will, i.e., a kidnapping. However, this requires that you “honestly” and “reasonably” believe that one of those actions is occurring.[6] Importantly, both things must be true: you must believe that the action is happening, and the action must be happening. If both are true, the jury instruction requires that the jury must presume an honest and reasonable belief of imminent death/great bodily harm/sexual assault.[7] This is a huge presumption, as it pretty much justifies any use of force in those locations. 

Unfortunately, it is also important to understand that whether use of force was justified will be decided other people, i.e., police, prosecutors, judges, or jury. Michigan case law has shown that interpretation of facts that were outside of the knowledge of the person claiming the Castle Doctrine protections, can prevent the use of that claim at trial.[8] This makes it difficult to predict whether the use of force under Castle Doctrine will be justified later. Therefore, if you intend on using force to defend your home, you should fully understand the law and prepare accordingly. 

We do advise everyone to continue to educate and train. Failure to prepare for the legal use of self-defense is a failure you cannot afford. Talk to your instructors about continuing education programs, simulators, and preparing yourself in case it becomes necessary for you to act. If you have already been forced to use self-defense, you should seek an attorney as soon as possible to assist you in defending your actions.

[1] MCL 780.972.
[2] MCL 780.951.
[3] MCL 780.951(3)(c) "Dwelling" means a structure or shelter that is used permanently or temporarily as a place of abode, including an appurtenant structure attached to that structure or shelter.
[4] MCL 780.951(3)(b) "Business premises" means a building or other structure used for the transaction of business, including an appurtenant structure attached to that building or other structure.
[5] MCL 780.951(1)(a).
[6] MCL 780.951(1)(b).
[7] M Crim JI 7.16a.
[8] People v. Wafer, 907 N.W.2d 584 (MI Sup. Ct. 2018).

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.