Castle doctrine may be applied in case of Ascension home invasion shooting

Owner of firearms store breaks down when deadly force can be used to defend home

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - An early morning shooting at a home in Prairieville has deputies trying to figure out if it’s a case of self defense, which could mean no charges for the homeowner.

Wade Duty, lawyer and co-owner of Precision Firearms, says in this type of situation, there are two laws that apply to anyone in Louisiana.

“It’s not a hunting license, it is a legal status that you enjoy simply by lawfully occupying those three locations,” said Duty.

The three locations he’s referring to include a home anyone lawfully lives in, a business, and a vehicle.

Duty also teaches concealed carry classes in which he teaches the reasonable man standard and the castle doctrine.

“The reasonable man standard is kind of always available anywhere, but then there’s a more specific standard [castle doctrine] for dwellings, place of business, and vehicles, as long as you lawfully occupy them, you’re granted the presumption that lethal force is necessary to defend those locations,” said Duty.

The castle doctrine does not cover your carport, garage, or any additional buildings on your property, such as a barn or shed since those are not consistently occupied. Regardless of where you are, the standard used to apply reasonable man or castle doctrine is whether unlawful force was used to break into the home, business, or vehicle.

“What they’re envisioning is situations where people are at home or they’re in the business that’s closed for the day and an intruder attempts to burglarize or wreak some type of havoc on the persons occupying the home or the business lawfully,” said Duty.

Duty says ideally, you want to limit the amount of force you use. If someone is leaving a scene and clearly no longer a threat, you may not be covered by the law. If you entice someone into your home in the hopes of applying castle doctrine, the law may not apply.

“If you lure someone into the home, if you escalate the situation, and it turns into a lethal conflict, that’s going to be relevant and those self defense strategies may not be upheld. But if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, you’re in your own home minding your own business and someone kicks in your door, the law is very clear in Louisiana. You have the presumption that lethal force is necessary to repel that attack,” said Duty.

No matter what the situation, Duty says it’ll always come down to the facts of exactly what happened, just as in the case in Ascension Parish in which deputies are waiting to talk to the homeowner to iron out the details of what happened.

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