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How well do you understand Missouri's Stand Your Ground Law?

As a homeowner in Missouri, the one scenario you never want to find yourself in is defending your home against an intruder. The Missouri Castle Doctrine gives you the right to use forceful measures to protect yourself and prevent unlawful entry into your home, property and vehicle, which includes using a firearm. It is important to know your rights as they pertain to this law so you do not end up with criminal charges

In order for the Stand Your Ground Law to apply, there must be an unlawful entry. There are also other criteria your situation must meet. Here is a brief overview of your rights. 

You must be a legal occupant 

You cannot legally shoot someone breaking into or trespassing in a place where you do not live. To qualify for the protection of the doctrine, you must be a legal resident or guest. For example, you can pop up at someone's home to chat with her or him on the porch, but if that person does not invite you inside and someone is trying to break into the home, you do not have the right to use your weapon to defend the property. Another example is if you stop by someone's home and the homeowner has a guest who refuses to leave and becomes threatening, you cannot use your weapon to get that person out. 

There must be a need for deadly force 

Defending yourself because someone is entering your home is not enough for you to rightfully shoot an intruder. You must also believe the intruder intends to harm you. Not all trespassers physically attack their victims. You may prevent further intrusion by yelling at the trespasser and threatening to contact law enforcement. If you shoot an intruder and there is no threat of harm, you are abusing the Stand Your Ground law and the right to defend your property with a firearm. 

There may be times where you personally feel it is necessary for you to defend your property and life by shooting any person who attempts to break into your home or harm you while breaking into your home. But the law is very clear and easy for citizens to misinterpret. Unlawful and self-defense situations are not black and white. Many who find themselves with criminal charges from defending their properties benefit from speaking to attorneys.

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