What is the Castle Doctrine in Mississippi?

Under the Castle Doctrine, if an intruder enters your property without consent and you use reasonable force to remove them, then you are not legally liable for any injury they sustain after being evicted. There are exceptions to this rule if someone is injured while breaking in but the overall effect of the Castle Doctrine is that it removes most legal hurdles in defending yourself against someone unlawfully on your property.

A person is allowed to use defensive force when someone else has or is in the process of forcibly entering their legally occupied property. This includes any buildings on the property, not just a dwelling.

Mississippi law states that homicide is justifiable in certain circumstances:

  • Any degree of force, including deadly, is permitted as long as a person is attempting to defend their personal space and/or are facing potential imminent death or great bodily harm if they do not do so.
  • Civilians are able to use lethal force, whether by hand or weapon, to defend against a person trying to perform a felony attack on them, such as murder, assault or rape, or to protect someone else. 

The “Castle Doctrine” was originally based on Old English common law that says a person is allowed to defend their homes & property without any legal consequences.

The law is similar to stand-your-ground laws as it allows those who feel threatened on public property to defend themselves. The main difference between the two laws is that Stand Your Ground applies to public spaces while the Castle Doctrine only covers personal property.

After Mississippi passed the law, they reported a 5% decrease in violent crime. One important thing to note is that convicted felons are not allowed to possess guns legally. So, when the CATD exists, it will not reinstate their right. As a result, when felons use firearms in an attempt to protect property, they are still breaking the law.

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