Law Offices of Ravert J. (Jay) Clark
Homeowner Shoots at Burglar in Self-Defense
With the Trayvon Martin case self defense laws have received a lot of attention recently. Ohio's self defense laws were recently changed giving home owners greater rights and protection. The new law gives greater protection to homeowners with a presumption of self-defense while shifting the burden of proof to the prosecution to prove the homeowner was not acting in self defense.
In the early morning hours of April 11th, a Cincinnati area homeowner fired a shot at a burglar attempting to break into the mans home. The homeowner was not charged. This is an example of the application Ohio's "Castle Doctrine."
Ohio's "castle laws" presume you have acted in self defense or in defense of another when using deadly force against someone who has unlawfully entered your residence or vehicle. If you were to be charged, the prosecution would have to prove the intruder did not enter your house or vehicle with the intent of causing harm.
Ohio law previously required the victim of a home invasion to retreat before using deadly force against the intruder. In addition, a person who used deadly force in such a situation had to prove in court he acted out of fear of serious physical injury or death.