Frank, Juengel & Radefeld, Attorneys at Law
Local: 314-282-8657
Toll Free: 800-748-2105

Understanding the castle doctrine

Recently, a Texas murder case grabbed national and international headlines. In that case, an off-duty police officer entered the wrong apartment, mistaking it for her own. Rather than apologizing and exiting the apartment, the officer shot the apartment's rightful occupant. In the officer’s murder trial, the presiding judge permitted jurors to consider the castle doctrine. 

If you encounter an unexpected individual in your home, you are virtually certain to experience a variety of emotions, such as fear and confusion. You may have to use deadly force to prevent a trespasser from injuring you or your family members. Like Texas, Missouri law recognizes the castle doctrine. As such, you may be able to use the doctrine to defend yourself against criminal charges or avoid them altogether. 

Your home is your castle

As its name suggests, the castle doctrine stems from a notion that your home is your castle. While you must comply with a variety of federal, state and local laws, you may also defend yourself and your property from harm. In Missouri and other places, legal experts often refer to this right as the castle doctrine.

The law presumes intent to harm

Virtually everyone knows it is improper to enter another person’s home without permission. In Missouri, the law presumes that an intruder intends to harm the occupant or his or her property. As such, Missouri’s castle doctrine allows you to use deadly force to defend yourself without first attempting to retreat. Still, lethal force must be reasonable under the circumstances.

The castle doctrine does not cover retreating intruders

You do not have an absolute right to use deadly force against anyone who comes onto your property. This is specifically true when it comes to retreating intruders. If you shoot an intruder in the back while he or she runs away, for example, the castle doctrine is not likely to protect you.

It is important for gun owners to know the law about protecting themselves and their families. If you face criminal charges for killing another person, you may want to pursue a self-defense strategy. Naturally, if the scenario unfolded at your home, understanding the castle doctrine may be essential for avoiding criminal liability.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
AV Preeminent The National Trial Lawyers Super Lawyers Top 50 Avvo Rating Avvo Rating 10
The Bar Association Of Metropolitan St Louis Illinois State Bar Association St Louis Business Journal National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers The Missouri Bar
St Louis County Bar Association Up Coming Missouri Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers Super Lawyers | Matthew Alan Radefeld | 10 years Super Lawyers | Daniel A. Juengel | 5 years
Contact us for a consultation

Ready To Protect Your Rights

We invite you to make an appointment with us to discuss your legal needs. You can reach us online or by calling us at 314-282-8657.

We provide representation in Missouri, Illinois and federal courts across the nation. Lawyers from around the country refer clients to us, knowing we will deliver the superior level of representation to their clients they would expect from themselves.

Receive the trusted counsel you deserve. Contact us for a consultation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

7710 Carondelet Avenue
Suite 350
St. Louis, MO 63105

Toll Free: 800-748-2105
Phone: 314-282-8657
St. Louis Law Office Map