It is a startling and unpleasant thing to encounter someone breaking into your home or building. You never know how you might react. In one recent news story, a 23-year-old man reacted to three would-be burglars who had broken into the home he lived in by shooting and killing them. Apparently, the three would-be burglars broke in through a glass door in the back of the home, armed with a knife and brass knuckles. Wearing black clothes, gloves and masks when they came into the home, the three would-be burglars woke up the 23-year-old. The three burglars talked briefly with the 23-year-old before he shot them with a rifle. The 23-year-old appeared to be acting in self-defense when he shot and killed them. If he was acting in self-defense in Denver or Arapahoe County, the “Make My Day” law or Use of Deadly Physical Force Against an Intruder, C.R.S. 18-1-704.5, may apply.
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Use of Deadly Physical Force Against an Intruder in Douglas and Adams County: Make My Day Law Cancels Murder Charges
The definition of Use of Deadly Physical Force Against an Intruder, C.R.S. 18-1-704.5 (Make My Day law), in Douglas and Adams County is:
“(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.
(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.
(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.”
For the Make My Day law to apply, an intruder must have unlawfully entered a dwelling. A backyard, attached garage, or other areas surrounding a home don't qualify as the inside of a dwelling. If the Make My Day law does not apply in the 23-year-old's case, he could instead be facing Murder in the First Degree, C.R.S 18-3-102, or Murder in the Second Degree, C.R.S. 18-3-103, charges.
Make My Day Law in Jefferson County: An Affirmative Defense Against Murder
If you are facing criminal charges such as Assault, Harassment, Menacing or Murder in Jefferson County, but you feel you were justified in using physical force against a person who unlawfully entered your home, it's possible a criminal defense lawyer can use the “Make My Day” law in your criminal case. Only a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands criminal law and who has studied the details of your criminal case can determine whether or not the Make My Day law, or Use of Deadly Physical Force Against an Intruder, will work for you.
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If you or a loved one has been charged and has more questions about the Make My Day law in Colorado, be smart and exercise your right to remain silent. Then, contact a criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office for a free consultation at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.Request a Free Consultation
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