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If someone breaks into your house and you shoot them, does that make you a criminal in California?

Oakland, CA |

What are the laws about protecting your castle/estate? Are there certain cases where I could be tried as a criminal for protecting my home or am I given complete license to do so? My neighborhood is rough. I don't want to break the law and that's why I want to know self-defense laws. Are they absolute in your own home or what?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

You might be well-served by looking on They have LOTS of info regarding this issue.
Look for the FAQ relating to the castle doctrine.

Good luck!

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.

Sean Patrick Lewis

Sean Patrick Lewis


Bottom line, though, is that you NEVER have carte-blanch license to kill someone.


These are handled by a case by case basis and the facts will matter.
Robert Driessen

Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at


Depending on the circumstances, yes, you could be charged criminally for shooting an intruder. Even if you are charged, you should be able to assert a self defense argument.
But generally speaking, just the fact that someone broke into your home does not give you unfettered right to shoot them.

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