New York’s ‘Castle Doctrine’ and how it applies to homeowner-burglar shooting in Webster

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WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Webster police say a homeowner shot an alleged burglar outside his Gravel Road residence early Tuesday morning. The suspect is in critical condition at a local hospital.

The question lingering on the minds of many is if the homeowner has the right to defend his home with a gun. Police have not released too many specifics for the case at this time, but a local legal expert says it may not be so cut and dry.

Legal expert Albert Parisi says a homeowner can’t just shoot someone on their property in any instance, but if that person breaks into your home, threatens your life, or that of your family, then deadly force is warranted under New York state’s so called “Castle Doctrine,” legally known as Section 35.20: Justification; use of physical force in defense of premises and in defense of a person in the course of burglary

Parisi says the homeowner who fired the weapon could actually be looked at from a criminal standpoint, if prosecutors weigh details like if their life was threatened, or if they were defending their home?

“God forbid, someone was to shoot someone while stealing their bicycles out of their garage, right?” Parisi said. “They would not be able to under New York state Castle’s Doctrine, it probably would not be justifiable and they could face criminal conviction.”

The Gravel Road incident remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed at this time. If no criminal charges are ultimately filed, there’s the whole civil side of things that could proceed as well.

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