On February 1, 2019, it was reported that a man was injured inside his home in West Las Vegas when he was shot by two men attempting to break into his home. He returned fire hitting the two suspects, who were transported to the hospital. The man had been shot in the leg and he also was transported to the hospital. It is unknown at this time, the condition of the suspected intruders or the victim. What are your rights when being threatened by intruders, or home invaders? Do you have an absolute right to use deadly force against unlawful entry to your home?
There are very few absolute rights in the law, especially when it comes to the taking of human life. Nevada law (NRS 200.120) defines “Justifiable Homicide” as allowable under three conditions:
- The person was not the original aggressor
- The person has a legal right to be in the location where deadly force is used
- The person Is not actively engaged in the furtherance of criminal activity at the time deadly force is used.
These considerations apply when the person is defending themselves or others, an occupied habitation, or occupied motor vehicle.
If one of the two alleged intruders in the above example, should die from his wounds, the man could fall under the Justifiable Homicide provisions of Nevada State Law. The prosecutor would make that determination based on the facts of the case.
Short History of Self-Defense Laws
The presumption of a right to defend your life and your home has long been recognized by the law, growing out of the so called “Castle Doctrine” or “your home is your castle” concept, which in our legal tradition was passed down through English Common Law. Nevada law reflects this same understanding in the aforementioned chapter dealing with “Justified Homicide,” and other states have similar statutes as an outgrowth of the “castle doctrine.” Under this doctrine, deadly force may be used in self-defense against an intruder of an occupied home. Shooting someone entering an unoccupied home not considered “justifiable homicide.”
In Nevada in 2011, the state legislature passed new measures which removed a requirement to retreat in the face of a threatening situation. These “Stand Your Ground” statutes have been in effect since that time and about half the states have adopted similar legislation. Most recently, the Nevada Legislature in 2015, passed SB175 which became law in June 2015, and included the defense of an occupied motor vehicle to the legal list of defendable circumstances recognized by law, among other provisions.
Possible Legal Charges
In some cases, charges could be filed against you for homicide even while defending your home. If this has happened to you, you should seek the services of an aggressive, driven attorney who will represent your rights under the protections Nevada law provides for you. The lawyers of The Defenders understand these laws and will build a legal defense that will stand up to court scrutiny. To discuss your case, call our office today at (702) 333-3333.