Castle Doctrine – Adam Woody on Self-Defense in Missouri

Adam Woody was featured on the Springfield, Mo. CBS affiliate KOLR10 to discuss the “castle doctrine”.

The “castle doctrine” is essentially the legal right that everyone has in Missouri to defend themselves or another person when someone comes into their home unlawfully.  The use of force in that situation can be deadly force if the person using force reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent imminent harm.  The “castle doctrine” does not just extend to a person’s home.  It can include a vehicle, a hotel room, and essentially anywhere else that person has a lawful right to be.  Historically Missouri was a “retreat state”, which means that even if someone was in their own home at the time of unlawful entry by another person, the home owner was required to do everything he or she could to remove him or herself from the situation before using force.  That changed in 2010, and the “castle doctrine” was passed into law.  Now, deadly force can be used any time someone unlawfully enters a home or vehicle.  RSMo. Section 563.031 is where the “castle doctrine” can be found in the Missouri Statutes.

Unfortunately, this is a hot topic in and around the Springfield area where home invasions are becoming more common.  There have been several home invasion shootings over the past several weeks, and when you read a headline such as this, the homeowner is going to be justified under the “castle doctrine” just about every time.  This is basically a form of self-defense, however, the aggressor does not have to be using force that is reasonable under the circumstances.  Deadly force by a home owner can be justified just about any time a person is entering a home unlawfully no matter what that person’s intentions.  Perhaps the “castle doctrine” will lead to fewer home invasions, or perhaps it will simply lead to more shootings and deaths.  Only time will tell.