Encino, CA asked in Wrongful Death and Criminal Law for California

Q: If someone breaks into my home at night using a crowbar on my french doors, do I have the right to use deadly force?

Does the use of a crowbar constitute violent entry? I was home alone and I'm 80 years old. Could I be prosecuted for homicide?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, you have the right to defend yourself and others in your home from an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury, which is often referred to as the "Castle Doctrine." If someone breaks into your home, particularly at night, using a tool like a crowbar, it can be considered a violent entry. Being 80 years old and home alone may make you more vulnerable, potentially amplifying your perception of threat. If you reasonably believe that the intruder intends to inflict death or great bodily harm, you may use deadly force in self-defense. However, the use of deadly force must be proportional to the threat faced. While the initial presumption may be in your favor for defending your home, it's not an absolute protection against prosecution. Every case is unique, and the specifics of the situation will play a significant role. It's advisable to consult with an attorney if faced with such a situation to understand potential implications fully.

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