When Can a Montana Citizen Use Deadly Force?
The following blog (and audio interview below) is not to be considered legal advice in the use of deadly force in every case. Every event has its own set of unique circumstances. Always seek professional legal advice for anything having to do with the law. This interview provides information only on the merits of the law.
Bozeman Attorney Jennifer Bordy paid her regular Friday visit to the AM 1450 KMMS Morning Show with Tom Egelhoff. The topic of conversation was deadly force and some of the circumstances where it’s permitted by law — or not.
Deadly Force Can Mean Jail Time
A man in Missoula, Montana had his garage broken into several times. So he decided he’s bait the garage to attract the perpetrators. It worked and he killed the intruder in his garage with a shotgun, hitting the burglar twice. And he lost in court and will be doing time in the big house.
There are many instances around the US where residents have used deadly force to protect lives and property. Some have been justified — others have not.
The Castle Doctrine
Self Defense Laws in Montana changed in 2009.
Before that there were many problems with self-defense because you had to admit that you used deadly force and that was a crime so more burden of proof was on you.
Tom and Jennifer talked about the rights of defending your property — such as your front yard and how that plays into the Castle Doctrine.
My home is my castle and I have a right to defend it — sometimes. The law does state that you can use deadly force if you believe that deadly force will be used against you.
However, depending on the circumstances, it might be tough to prove in court.
Montana still affords the average citizen the right to use force to perform an arrest on another person.
Here again the circumstances, and the amount of force used, could affect the outcome in a court of law.
Some Final Thoughts
Although our legal system is designed to protect all of us the law does have some quirky twists and turns when it comes to the use of force.
Using any kind of force on another person is not always justified. But, if you believe your life is in danger, and circumstances confirm that — then juries will probably favor your behavior — but not always.
For more in depth information on this topic listen to the interview below.