Legal term: Castle Doctrine

Castle Doctrine is similar to “stand your ground,” but is typically limited to real property, including a person’s home, property and, in some states, cars or workplaces.

The concept is that an individual has a right to be safe and secure within his or her own home or “castle” and should not have to retreat from his or her home in order to be safe. Depending on the state, an individual may have the right to protect himself or herself, other people, and his or her property by force — in some instances even employing deadly force against intruders without retreating.

There are a few states that don’t have a form of Castle Doctrine.

Which of these states does not have a form of Castle Doctrine?

  • Wisconsin
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Massachusetts

0 voters

What does your state Castle Doctrine say?
You can double-check if your state has a Castle Doctrine here.

There’s no specific Castle Doctrine in New Mexico, but there’s an old court ruling that says a person who’s threatened with attack need not retreat, and can instead defend themselves.

Personally, I’d much rather retreat if possible than having no option but to pull the trigger.


Tricky question… :stuck_out_tongue:
Sherlock Holmes’s method of elimination pointed to New Mexico… however “Castle Doctrine” somehow worked there without that specific name…

The more pertinent question is which states have a duty to retreat? Where in a victim has to make all available efforts to avoid a confrontation. Castle Doctrine runs parallel to Fear of Death and/or great bodily harm. If someone forcibly enters your home it is “assumed” (and we know about that word) that you are automatically if fear of your life or great bodily harm in some states. In others you are required to retreat until you can no longer.

Being considered reasonably safe in your own dwelling or occupancy is moot if you must attempt to disengage before you engage.

So I have to get out of my car before I can defend myself from a car jacker?

Am I required to hold the door open for him/her/it and then shut it for OSHA regulations?

Do I have to jump out my bedroom window on forced entry into my house even if I have a 3 story house or live on the 17th floor?

Each state has different rules for engagement and all would be wise to know the ones in which they reside as well as the conflicts between laws.




Currently in Nebraska, Csstle Doctrine only applies to your home and work. Every where else duty to flee. There is a bill in committee to add vehicles.

Louisiana has Castle Doctrine. Furthermore, individuals are justified meeting force with force without retreat even outside of the “castle” in matters of JUSTIFIABLE homicide.