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Wisconsin Castle Law Explained

castle law

Castle law (also known as castle doctrine) is a legal doctrine that deals with self-defense. Several states, including Wisconsin, have adopted this doctrine. Basically it allows a person certain permissions to protect their home (or "castle") using force, including deadly force.

No Duty to Retreat

In many states, one has a "duty to retreat" before using deadly force. In other words, a person must make a reasonable attempt to get away from a dangerous situation before resorting to deadly force. Under Wisconsin castle law a person has no "duty to retreat" before using deadly force if an intruder enters their home. There are, however, certain conditions that must exist before a person can execute castle doctrine, such as:

  • An intruder must be acting unlawfully and making an attempt to break into the person's home.
  • The owner of the home must believe that the intruder poses a real threat of bodily harm.
  • The owner of the home must not have provoked the intruder to break into the home.

The Legislature

Wisconsin castle law is governed by Wisconsin statutes Sec. 895.62, and Sec. 939.48. Both statutes were made into law in 2011. Click to read these statutes in detail.

A lot of Gray Area

There is a lot of subjectivity when it comes to castle law. Whether the intruder posed a real threat of bodily harm to the occupant of the home is largely up to the occupant to decide. As a result, castle law is the source of much debate in Wisconsin. For more information on the subjectivity of castle law, read our previous blog on when it's OK to defend yourself in Wisconsin. If you have any further questions on castle law, or your rights when it comes to defending your home, contact a Wisconsin defense attorney.

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