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What is the “Castle Doctrine,” and how can it protect me from a home invader?

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The "Castle Doctrine" is a set of laws that can protect homeowners if they choose to defend themselves during a home or car break-in.

The doctrine isn't always as simple as saying if someone is breaking into a homeowner's residence while the homeowner is there, the invader can be shot. That's according to Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Randy Neal.

"If you're going to protect yourself, you want to be within the law so that you're not the individual facing some kind of charges," he says.

Neal said there are only certain situations when you shoot to defend your home.

"If somebody is breaking into your home, violently or even by surprise, basically they're sneaking into your house to commit crimes. That's a situation where someone can protect themselves or protect their family. And that can be up to and including deadly force when necessary," Neal said.

Neal says the best way to stay within the law is to get educated about Idaho's self-defense laws.

"It never hurts to increase the amount of knowledge about that, and to make sure you've educated yourself so that when you protect somebody, protect yourself, that you're doing so within the bounds of the law," Neal said.

To get that education, Neal recommends attending one of many classes offered in the area.

"It's important. And this is not a huge commitment. I mean, some of these classes typically are a couple of hours...They're not especially expensive. And you'll also learn other things as well," Neal said.

Neal said if someone breaks into your home, remember the following question. "Is this really somebody breaking in to commit a crime and, you know, what is that manifest intent of this person who I suspect is trying to get into my house?" Neal said.

Neal stressed the importance of learning what you can and can't do in instances of self-defense is important.

"I think what is most important to remember is, although you have the right to carry, you have the obligation to know the law," Neal said.

Neal has also mentioned that he has helped with classes on this subject before. He partnered with the Teton County Prosecutor last January.

Neal also mentioned that he might do a local seminar on self-defense soon.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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