Self Defense In Ohio: A Castle Doctrine Test

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Since 2008, Ohioans have had expanded rights to self-defense under a group of laws known as the Castle Doctrine.

These laws state that the victim of a home invasion does not have to retreat before using deadly force against the intruder – and that offenders engaging in criminal conduct cannot receive damages for injuries they receive from their victims.

Previously, the burden was on the homeowner to prove that he or she acted out of fear of serious physical injury or death. Under Ohio's Castle Doctrine, the law now presumes that the homeowner acted in self defense – or in defense of another – when using deadly force against someone who unlawfully entered the owner’s residence. In those cases where the owner faces criminal charges, the prosecution must prove that the intruder did not enter the house with the intent of causing harm.

The Castle Doctrine also extends the rights of self-defense to include one’s personal vehicle. A concealed handgun license (CHL) holder is permitted to keep a loaded handgun in his or her vehicle and to use it to defend against invasion with the presumption of self-defense.

But according to a recent ruling by the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals, as detailed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the rights of self-defense defined by the Castle Doctrine do not extended to another person’s vehicle. The issue – trying to extend the Castle Doctrine to a car other than one’s own – was reportedly the first of its kind in Ohio.

Posted in Criminal Defense