Michael C. Hennenberg

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Ohio's Self Defense Laws: The Castle Doctrine

On January 1, 2013 the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Law and Order section described a Friday December 28, 2012 incident in which a homeowner shot a burglar and held that burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.  Was the homeowner's conduct legal?

Effective September 9, 2008, the Castle Doctrine designates a person's home as a place in which the homeowner may use force, up to and including deadly force, to defend against an intruder without being subject to prosecution.  Ohio, one of thirty (30) states adhering to the Castle Doctrine, has expanded its Castle Doctrine to include one's self, immediate family and one's home and vehicle.

Ohio's R.C. § 2901.05(B)(1) provides the presumption that a person acted in self defense or defense of another in using force that is intended or likely to cause death or greatly bodily harm to another if:

  • The person against whom the defensive force is used is in the process of unlawfully and without privilege to do so entering, or has unlawfully and without privilege to do so entered, the residence or vehicle occupied by the person using the defensive force.

This presumption of self-defense does not apply if the person against whom the defensive force is used:

  • Has the right to be in, or is a lawful resident of, the residence or vehicle;


  • The person who uses the defensive force uses it while in a residence or vehicle and the person is unlawfully, and without privilege to be, in that residence or vehicle (R.C. § 2901.05(B)(2)).

If you or some who cares about you has any questions regarding self defense and the Castle Doctrine, please contact Attorney Michael C. Hennenberg to schedule a consultation.

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