Recently, in St. Louis, Missouri, two burglary suspects were shot and killed by their victims inside the home they were attempting to rob, according to law enforcement spokespersons. While the two shootings are under review, it appears that prosecutors will decline charges because the killings appear justified under Missouri’s castle doctrine.
Missouri is one of several states across the country that has adopted some variation of the castle doctrine. This doctrine allows homeowners or others who are legally entitled to be in the home to use deadly force to protect themselves in their home, property, or vehicle. Under this doctrine, homeowners do not have a duty to retreat when someone has entered unlawfully. Also, under this doctrine, there is a presumption that someone who enters unlawfully intends to do you or your family harm. Lastly, this doctrine states that that a person who uses justified force against an invader is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action.
Despite the adoption of Missouri’s castle doctrine, police and prosecutors will nevertheless investigate the circumstances of the shooting to determine if it was justified. As always, even if you believe your actions were justified, it is always important to seek out an experienced St. Louis criminal defense lawyer to ensure your rights are being protected. Our St. Louis criminal defense lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer free consultations.