If you’re like most people, you’ve heard of other states with “stand your ground” laws. But what are they, and is Wisconsin a so-called stand your ground state? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Stand Your Ground?
A stand your ground law relates to self-defense. Generally speaking, they allow people who believe they’re in imminent danger to use deadly force against the person they believe is endangering them. People started talking about these laws after the tragic 2012 death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The basic facts of the case were never in dispute – George Zimmerman admitted to shooting Martin and was charged with second-degree murder. However, the jury reached a not-guilty verdict because of Florida’s stand your ground law.
Is Wisconsin a Stand Your Ground State?
Wisconsin does not have a stand your ground law. We do, however, have a law referred to as the castle doctrine.
What About the Castle Doctrine?
The castle doctrine allows people in Wisconsin two specific instances where it’s okay to use deadly force (or force that’s likely to cause death or great bodily harm). Those two instances are:
- When someone is unlawfully and forcibly entering your dwelling, vehicle or place of business, and when you’re there, and you know (or reasonably believe) that the person is entering unlawfully and forcibly
- When someone is already in your dwelling, vehicle or place of business after unlawfully and forcibly getting in, and you’re there, and you know (or reasonably believe) that the person got in unlawfully and forcibly
Castle Doctrine Example
You’re sleeping in bed and you hear a loud, shattering sound downstairs. You get a gun and go to investigate. You find out that someone is climbing through your broken window, and the person has a gun and says he is going to kill you. If you shoot him, you may be able to fall back on the castle doctrine. Every case is different, though, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney before you go to court – your attorney will help ensure you get the best possible outcome.
What if You’re Accused of Using Deadly Force?
If you’re accused of using deadly force against someone, it’s probably in your best interest to get in touch with an attorney right away. We do not have stand your ground laws in Wisconsin.
Call us for a free consultation at 414-383-6700 right away if you’re accused of using deadly force against someone or charged with a homicide offense. We can help.