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 Maryland as of 9/5/2013. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to Maryland legislation at mgaleg.maryland.gov. 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.

The State of Maryland technicaly does have a Castle Law but there is not a statues for it.  It is built off of common law and case laws. Maryland  Senate Bill 411, that was signed by Governor O'Malley in 2010 can be viewed below.

Defense of Dwelling or Place of Business – Civil Immunity

FOR the purpose of providing that a person is not liable for damages for a personal injury or death of an individual who enters the person’s dwelling or place of business under certain circumstances;  authorizing a court to award costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to a certain defendant; defining a certain term; providing for the application of this Act; and generally relating to providing certain immunity from civil liability to certain persons under certain circumstances.

BY adding to
Article – Courts and Judicial Proceedings
Section 5–808
Annotated Code of Maryland
(2006 Replacement Volume and 2009 Supplement)

SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:

Article – Courts and Judicial Proceedings

5–808.
(A) IN THIS SECTION, “PERSON” DOES NOT INCLUDE A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY.

(B) A PERSON IS NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES FOR A PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO ENTERS THE PERSON’S DWELLING OR PLACE OF BUSINESS IF:
(1) THE PERSON REASONABLY BELIEVES THAT FORCE OR DEADLY FORCE IS NECESSARY TO REPEL AN ATTACK BY THE INDIVIDUAL; AND
(2) THE AMOUNT AND NATURE OF THE FORCE USED BY THE PERSON IS REASONABLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

(C) SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO A PERSON WHO IS CONVICTED OF A CRIME OF VIOLENCE UNDER § 14–101 OF THE Ch. 555 2010 LAWS OF MARYLAND

CRIMINAL LAW ARTICLE, ASSAULT IN THE SECOND DEGREE, OR RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT ARISING OUT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION.

(D) THE COURT  MAY AWARD COSTS AND REASONABLE ATTORNEY’S FEES TO A DEFENDANT WHO PREVAILS IN A DEFENSE UNDER THIS SECTION.

(E) THIS SECTION DOES NOT LIMIT OR ABROGATE ANY IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY OR DEFENSE AVAILABLE TO A PERSON UNDER ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THE CODE OR AT COMMON LAW.

SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall be construed to apply only prospectively and may not be applied or interpreted to have any effect on or application to any case in which the cause of action arises before the effective date of this Act.

SECTION 3. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect October 1, 2010.

Approved by the Governor, May 20, 2010.

You can view this actual bill at mgaleg.maryland.gov.

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