Castle Doctrine

The laws governing the legal use, storage, carrying and transporting of firearms are constantly changing. Below are the applicable laws in the State of Maine as of 9/25/2013. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to Maine legislation at www.mainelegislature.org. If you have any specific questions concerning Castle Doctrine/Self-Defense laws in any state, American Firearms Training recommends contacting an attorney.

The Castle Doctrine (also known as Castle Law, Defense of Habitat Law) are state legal defense laws that gives citizens in their homes/abode, and in some states, cars or workplaces the right to protect themselves, other people, and their property by force. In some instances this includes deadly force without the consequences of legal or possibly civil responsibility and criminal persecution. A Castle Doctrine also states that a person has no “duty of retreat” (avoid the conflict at all cost) when one’s home/abode is under attack.

Some states will include in their Castle Law a “Stand Your Ground” clause. This clause removes the “duty of retreat” even outside of one’s home (car, work, where one is allowed to possess a firearm).

The State of Maine does have a Castle Law and a "Stand Your Ground" variation.  These and other self-deffense laws can be viewed below.

§104. Use of force in defense of premises

1. A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person in or upon such premises.

2. A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using deadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt by the other person to commit arson.

3. A person in possession or control of a dwelling place or a person who is licensed or privileged to be therein is justified in using deadly force upon another person:

   A. Under the circumstances enumerated in section 108; or

   B. When the person reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person, who the person reasonably believes:
 
      (1) Has entered or is attempting to enter the dwelling place or has surreptitiously remained within the dwelling place without a license or privilege to do so; and

      (2) Is committing or is likely to commit some other crime within the dwelling place.

4. A person may use deadly force under subsection 3, paragraph B only if the person first demands the person against whom such deadly force is to be used to terminate the criminal trespass and the trespasser fails to immediately comply with the demand, unless the person reasonably believes that it would be dangerous to the person or a 3rd person to make the demand.

5. As used in this section:

   A. Dwelling place has the same meaning provided in section 2, subsection 10; and

   B. Premises includes, but is not limited to, lands, private ways and any buildings or structures thereon.

§105. Use of force in property offenses

A person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what is or reasonably appears to be an unlawful taking of the person's property, or criminal mischief, or to retake the person's property immediately following its taking; but the person may use deadly force only under such circumstances as are prescribed in sections 104, 107 and 108.

§106. Physical force by persons with special responsibilities

1. A parent, foster parent, guardian or other similar person responsible for the long term general care and welfare of a child is justified in using a reasonable degree of force against that child when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or punish the child's misconduct. A person to whom such parent, foster parent, guardian or other responsible person has expressly delegated permission to so prevent or punish misconduct is similarly justified in using a reasonable degree of force. For purposes of this subsection, "child" means a person who has not attained 18 years of age and has not been ordered emancipated by a court pursuant to Title 15, section 3506-A.

1-A. For purposes of subsection 1, "reasonable degree of force" is an objective standard. To constitute a reasonable degree of force, the physical force applied to the child may result in no more than transient discomfort or minor temporary marks on that child.

2. A teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a person for special and limited purposes is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force against any such person who creates a disturbance when and to the extent that the teacher or other entrusted person reasonably believes it necessary to control the disturbing behavior or to remove a person from the scene of such disturbance.

3. A person responsible for the general care and supervision of a mentally incompetent person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force against such person who creates a disturbance when and to the extent that the responsible person reasonably believes it necessary to control the disturbing behavior or to remove such person from the scene of such disturbance.

4. The justification extended in subsections 2 and 3 does not apply to the intentional, knowing or reckless use of nondeadly force that creates a substantial risk of extraordinary pain.

5. A person required by law to enforce rules and regulations, or to maintain decorum or safety, in a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, train or other carrier, or in a place where others are assembled, may use nondeadly force when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary for such purposes.

6. A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to self-inflict serious bodily injury may use a degree of force on such other person as the person reasonably believes to be necessary to thwart such a result.

7. A licensed physician, or a person acting under a licensed physician's direction, may use force for the purpose of administering a recognized form of treatment that the physician reasonably believes will tend to safeguard the physical or mental health of the patient, provided such treatment is administered:

   A. With consent of the patient or, if the patient is a minor or incompetent person, with the consent of the person entrusted with the patient's care and supervision; or

   B. In an emergency relating to health when the physician reasonably believes that no one competent to consent can be consulted and that a reasonable person concerned for the welfare of the patient would consent.

8. A person identified in this section for purposes of specifying the rule of justification herein provided is not precluded from using force declared to be justifiable by another section of this chapter.

§108. Physical force in defense of a person

1.    A person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person in order to defend the person or a 3rd person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful, nondeadly force by such other person, and the person may use a degree of such force that the person reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose. However, such force is not justifiable if:
 
   A. With a purpose to cause physical harm to another person, the person provoked the use of unlawful, nondeadly force by such other person; or

   B. The person was the initial aggressor, unless after such aggression the person withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person the intent to do so, but the other person notwithstanding continues the use or threat of unlawful, nondeadly force; or

   C. The force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not authorized by law.

1-A.    A person is not justified in using nondeadly force against another person who that person knows or reasonably should know is a law enforcement officer attempting to effect an arrest or detention, regardless of whether the arrest or detention is legal. A person is justified in using the degree of nondeadly force the person reasonably believes is necessary to defend the person or a 3rd person against a law enforcement officer who, in effecting an arrest or detention, uses nondeadly force not justified under section 107, subsection 1.

2.    A person is justified in using deadly force upon another person:

   A. When the person reasonably believes it necessary and reasonably believes such other person is:
     (1) About to use unlawful, deadly force against the person or a 3rd person; or
     (2) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping, robbery or a violation of section 253, subsection 1, paragraph A, against the person or a 3rd person; or

   B. When the person reasonably believes:
    (1) That such other person has entered or is attempting to enter a dwelling place or has surreptitiously remained within a dwelling place without a license or privilege to do so; and
    (2) That deadly force is necessary to prevent the infliction of bodily injury by such other person upon the person or a 3rd person present in the dwelling place;

   C. However, a person is not justified in using deadly force as provided in paragraph A if:
    (1) With the intent to cause physical harm to another, the person provokes such other person to use unlawful deadly force against anyone;
    (2) The person knows that the person against whom the unlawful deadly force is directed intentionally and unlawfully provoked the use of such force; or
    (3) The person knows that the person or a 3rd person can, with complete safety:
      (a) Retreat from the encounter, except that the person or the 3rd person is not required to retreat if the person or the 3rd person is in the person's dwelling place and was not the initial aggressor;
      (b) Surrender property to a person asserting a colorable claim of right thereto; or
      (c) Comply with a demand that the person abstain from performing an act that the person is not obliged to perform.

If you have questions about our course, feel free to email us at info@shootsafe.org.  Make sure you include your name, the state whose permit you are pursuing, and if you need a call back, a phone number.  We're happy to help.