Nebraska - Castle Doctrine - Kicking In Door

Hello!

Nebraska’s Law states it is a Castle Doctrine State (per The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map and Gun Laws)

I was wondering if my interpretation of this scenario is correct:

If one or more individuals was beating down the door to my home or busting out my windows, in order to enter my house, I have the right to use deadly force to stop them. I would be exercising “Use of force for self-protection” or if my friends or family were in my house “Use of force for protection of other persons”.

Video (Example) for reference: Man shoots through door at would-be burglars posing as maintenance workers: video - YouTube

Note There may be other issues with the example video specifically, such as " be sure of your target and what’s beyond it"

Also, would anyone care to discuss specific variables that would cause this situation to not warrant the use of deadly force?

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I suggest starting out by reading the NE statutes directly

One of them

An excerpt from there is

“(4) The use of deadly force shall not be justifiable under this section unless the actor believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily harm, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat, nor is it justifiable if:”

As well as

“(i) The actor shall not be obliged to retreat from his dwelling or place of work, unless he was the initial aggressor or is assailed in his place of work by another person whose place of work the actor knows it to be; and”

There is of course more.

In the USCCA Protector Academy, when Tom Grieve talks about castle doctrine laws, he points out that, generally, these laws create a Presumption that a home invader presents an imminent threat of serious harm/death (justifying lethal force), but that in law the word Presumption always comes with the other word Rebutable

I myself would be very hesitant to shoot somebody through an exterior door, generally speaking.

Dependent upon the totality of the circumstances

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Welcome to the community @Nickel

I am not a lawyer so would advise taking my opinion for what it is worth and consulting a lawyer for specific advice on the law.

While many castle doctrine laws are similar States all have differences in exactly what those laws allow so you would really need to review Nebraska’s self defense statutes to get a clearer picture of what may and may not be allowed.

As you noted the knowing your target and what lies beyond should have been taken into consideration in this case regardless of the legality of shooting through the door. The legal, civil and moral consequences of having your shots enter another’s dwelling could have been significant in this case.

Another thing to consider is being sure that the person or persons trying to get in really have criminal intent. Pretty obvious in your example but there are lots of stories of drunk or confused strangers or neighbors trying to break into what they believed to be their own houses.

Another thing to consider is that while someone is drawing your attention trying to break into the front door they may have accomplices ready to sneak or break in through another entrance or window which could catch you in a crossfire or leave your family uncovered.

That is why our primary plan if someone is trying to break in and time allows is to get to our safe area, call 911 and be prepared to defend ourselves if that final door is breached before LEOs arrive. This puts us in a very strongly defensible position and takes a lot of the legal questions out of whether or not someone was really trying to break in before I decided to fire.

5 Likes

Hello and welcome @Nickel
If they are beating on the door and it sounds like they are breaking in, call 911 and prepare for the breach.
If they have broken in, then you can visually identify the threat.
This is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer.

8 Likes

Hello Niclel and welcome to the community. Speaking for myself, the only moral reason I carry a gun is to save lives of innocent people. As far as the law goes the only moral advice I can give is to consult a lawyer.

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@Nickel Welcome. :slightly_smiling_face:

Nebraska Concealed Carry Gun Laws: CCW & Reciprocity Map | USCCA 2023-09-10 (usconcealedcarry.com)

Use of Force for Protection of Property

The use of force is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary:

  • To prevent or terminate an unlawful entry or other trespass upon land or a trespass against or the unlawful carrying away of tangible, movable property; or
  • To effect an entry or re-entry upon land or to retake tangible movable property.

[Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-1409, 28-1410 and 28-1411]

Self-Defense

Nebraska is a Castle Doctrine state. There is no duty to retreat while in a person’s dwelling or workplace. Present law requires citizens, if outside their homes, vehicles or outbuildings, to retreat before protecting themselves or family against violent intruders.

Use of Force for Protection of Other Persons

The use of force is justifiable to protect a third person when:

  • The actor would be justified in using such force to protect himself or herself against the injury he or she believes to be threatened to the person whom one seeks to protect;
  • Under the circumstances the person whom he or she seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and
  • The actor believes that his or her intervention is necessary for the protection of such other person.

A person is not required to retreat before using force in the protection of another person against the use of unlawful force unless one knows that he can thereby secure the complete safety of such other person. However, there is no duty to retreat when in the other’s dwelling or place of work.

In addition § NRS 28-1413 refers to the use of force by persons with special responsibility for care, discipline or safety of others.

Use of Force in Self-Protection

The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable:

  • When the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion;
  • When the actor believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily harm, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat;
  • To resist force used by the occupier or possessor of property if:
    • The actor has been unlawfully dispossessed of the property and is making a re-entry or recapture justified by section 28-1411; or
    • The actor believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death or serious bodily harm.

The use of deadly force is not justifiable if:

  • The actor provoked the use of force against himself or herself in the same encounter; or
  • The actor knows that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety by retreating, surrendering possession of an item or by complying with a demand that he or she abstain from any action which one has no duty to take, except that:
    • The actor shall not be obliged to retreat from his or her dwelling or place of work, unless the person was the initial aggressor or is assailed in the place of work by another person whose place of work the actor knows it to be.
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I would say watch these 3 videos!
I remember these videos word for word I watched them so much.

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“Also, would anyone care to discuss specific variables that would cause this situation to not warrant the use of deadly force?”

Nickel – While you can spend a lifetime pondering Nebraska’s statutes and trying to draw conclusions from “what if” scenarios, you will never know whether you will be held criminally liable for a shooting until and unless your local law enforcement agency and the DA (which is usually independent from the police or sheriff’s office) declines to prosecute you, or if they prosecute you, you are adjudicated “not guilty.” Law enforcement these days is a subjective exercise, as is trial.

Let’s say you were a political opponent of the local sheriff or DA, or the person you shoot is a relative of the local sheriff or DA, that would weigh against you in any shooting.

Then there are personal factors when God says to you “slow down” (ask me how I know) as when you see that the person breaking your windows is a child and you ask yourself “Do I want to end this person’s life?”