Know your rights if someone invades your home

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) -  Normally, in most situations, the law expects you to retreat if you can retreat safely," said Mike Walden.

There is an exception, according to Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, Mike Walden. That exception is when you're in your home or the curtilage--that's the area surrounding your home.

"You don't have that same obligation to retreat that you might if you were out in a public place or at a park, or at the mall, or on a highway.   In those situations, if you can retreat safely, the law would expect you to," said Walden.

He says if someone invades your home, for example, you always have to look at the facts of the case.  He says ultimately, of course, we're entitled to use force, and sometimes deadly physical force, to protect ourselves.  Walden says the actions you take will be judged.

"The devil's in the details and was it reasonable or not reasonable and you're going to have obviously a defense attorney claiming his client's actions were reasonable and maybe a prosecutor claiming that they weren't.   It's ultimately going to be for a jury to make that decision," said Walden.

Walden says if you're in your home or the curtilage, you don't have to retreat.  He says you do still have to act reasonably in making a determination of what force is necessary to defend yourself.  There are a number of things that might go into either a prosecutor or jury's decision as to whether or not someone's acting reasonably.

"...Age and size of the person coming into your house. Do you know them? Are they armed? Is it daylight or dark? Are there other people in your house?", said Walden.

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