Top Nav

Alabama Stand Your Ground – Castle Doctrine Law

<- Back to Alabama Concealed Carry Permit Info

Alabama Stand Your Ground – Castle Doctrine Laws

Alabama is a Castle Doctrine state and has a Stand Your Ground law. Below is the exact Alabama law.

Section 13A-3-23
Use of force in defense of a person.
(a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (4), if the person reasonably believes that another person is:
(1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.
(2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling.
(3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy.
(4) In the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is attempting to remove, or has forcefully removed, a person against his or her will from any dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle when the person has a legal right to be there, and provided that the person using the deadly physical force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring. The legal presumption that a person using deadly physical force is justified to do so pursuant to this subdivision does not apply if:
a. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner or lessee, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;
b. The person sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used;
c. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
d. The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her official duties.
(b) A person who is justified under subsection (a) in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has the right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a person is not justified in using physical force if:
(1) With intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, he or she provoked the use of unlawful physical force by such other person.
(2) He or she was the initial aggressor, except that his or her use of physical force upon another person under the circumstances is justifiable if he or she withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person his or her intent to do so, but the latter person nevertheless continues or threatens the use of unlawful physical force.
(3) The physical force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.
(d) A person who uses force, including deadly physical force, as justified and permitted in this section is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the force was determined to be unlawful.
(e) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force described in subsection (a), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.
(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §610; Acts 1979, No. 79-599, p. 1060, §1; Act 2006-303, p. 638, §1.)

Print Friendly
  • Doc Holliday

    According the the Bham Pollice, you can shoot a person through the window of your dwelling if the person is breaking into your car.
    That sounds insane but that is what I was told by them when they were investagating the vehichle break in.
    The cop asked why I didn’t just shoot the guy.
    I thought he was kidding but he was not.
    Beats me but I’m not going to shoot someone over a car radio.

    • Gk2875

      Do teachers have this same right. While at school. Is a teacher is threated with harm?

      • GunPackingMama

        NO! you may not carry a gun onto school property under federal law “Gun Free school zone act of 1990 ”
         

        • Periapsis

          One good reason to not be a teacher. There’s a lot more thugs like Travyon Martin where he came from, and teachers are easy targets.

          • chevystunner

            Periapsis, even though this is old, I must ask…
            What type of life threatening weapon was Trayvon carrying? I don’t remember. Damn thug… I wish all of the candy eating, tea drinking thugs were taken off of the streets, don’t you?

          • John

            Yea if Florida’s gun laws are anything like Alabama’s Zimmerman should be imprisoned based on the fact that he provoked the altercation.

        • Quincyt

          that act was declared unconstitutional and is now void

    • Mrbki5so

       I don’t want to kill anybody.  I would scare someone breaking in my car.  Another thing that could be done if you have a car alarm is push the alarm on your key chain and set off the alarm.  Be thankful we can protect ourselves and property.

    • Rowe6001

       Thats where common sense comes in. I agree!!

    • Urdreamhm

      But think about it? You may not live in the areas that some reside and understand the crime. You may say its just a car radio but next it may be your home and then your wife or children. All crime starts little but unless there is fear of extreme consequence it WILL escalate! If everyone was concerned about the possible loss of life when committing ANY crime it might just change things. I am a Realtor and we are OVER trained in safety due to the strangers we go in empty homes with. You can only imagine the horror stories that have been told. I have been in situations myself that give me chills now to look back on. I carry a gun with me at ALL times and have one in my vehicle and bedside table…..would pull a trigger in a heartbeat without a second thought! Pray I NEVER have the need. We work hard for our possessions and they need to do the same! Theft is so low down!

    • John Harcrow Jr.

      Can’t believe police said that. It’s illegal to shoot someone outside when you are inside and they are no threat to you.

      • Robert Ramirez

        It maybe be illegal in your state, but not in Alabama or Mississippi.

        • John Harcrow Jr.

          Robert, I live in Alabama and from what I’ve been told and what I’ve heard, you can’t just shoot someone who trespasses on your property or breaking into your car when you are home and inside.

    • anonymous

      You did not read the law correctly. It states you may use deadly force if the p ee rain is unlawfully forcibly entering an OCCUPIED vehicle………

    • GoBoy

      I think you may have misunderstood what they were talking about. The “castle Doctrine” extends your right to use deadly force to your vehicle if “you are in your vehicle” example, you are in your vehicle and someone tries to enter (carjack) your vehicle then you have the right to use deadly force to stop the carjacking, not if you are safe in your home and observe someone taking your vehicle (stealing) you do not have the right to shoot the person because you are not in fear of your life or great bodily harm. A person has to be reasonably in fear of your life or great bodily harm to use deadly force.

  • Mrbki5so

    All the reason for thugs and thuglife type to stay home after dark.  Imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have any recourse?  We should have the right to bear arms and to use them when justified.

    • Rowe6001

       I believe this Florida case will unjustly cause a rewrite of the stand your ground law. While I am a proponent of the “Stand Your Ground Law” I read the law and see where it can be interpreted different ways. One way is that a D.A. can’t charge you with a crime unless they feel you provoked the altercation. Look at the Florida case first the news reported that Travon attacked the neighborhood watch guy, then all of a sudden it was turned around that the neighborhood watch guy was the one that attached Travon. That’s why I don’t believe any of them. But it gave the D.A.the ammunition it needed to file the charge against him.

  • Mbmorgan

    Appears that the murdered child in FL (Trayvon) may be the person, under the more detailed AL law, who would have reason to use deadly force, rather than the self-identified aggressor. But he could hardly defend himself with Arizona tea and Skittles, could he? Great media attention has come to this one case, appropriately; let it now be given to every Mother’s child whose life is ended for no legal reason.

    • globeflyer

      I don’t for a second think that Zimmerman did the best thing, overall, relative to the situation. However, your response is similar to most everyone who fell for the info given (prematurely) by the networks. Zimmerman was injured, indicating a fight, and judging by the injuries sustained by Zimmerman, he might have been actually “standing HIS ground”. If you take the time to see the video of Martin while in the convenience store just prior to his death, you would realize that the word “kid” was used in a knee-jerk reaction. I would say he appears much bigger than Zimmerman. These things happen when jumping to conclusions and not waiting on all the facts to surface and I don’t think you’d be saying the same thing to Zimmerman’s mom if he had died instead.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ralph058 Ralph Reinhold

        While it was in Texas, a jury recently found that if you are the aggressor you cannot use stand your ground as a defense. Zimmerman by all accounts was the initial aggressor.

  • Hendersonphilisha

    I found this with all the attention to the FL Travon case. Of course I am sorry for their loss. But I am glad that it made me aware of AL having the stand your ground law. I thought I was obligated to retreat. Im not looking to harm another but I be damned I crawl in a closet if someone is breaking in on me.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3OGKT5YR6UGFGGOMGVDZQVHWTI JOHN

      Exactly. Up till now, i always heard you had to retreat to the far corner of your house or dwelling before initiating any deadly force on an attacker.

      • ricotorpe

        The common-law rule is very simple: you do not need to retreat in your house. Some states (such as Massachusetts) have changed this rule to require you to retreat is you can do so with complete safety.

    • ricotorpe

      I think we should still avoid using deadly force unless we have to. Circumstances can be unclear, witnesses can make mistakes or even outright lie. Even if you would be justified, it is better to avoid the risk of prison and a civil suit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SublimeMasterPawPaw Jw Webster

    4 teens were shot at while breaking into a fish camp in Alabama this week. One of them a girl was shot in the head and is in critical condition. The fishermen next door who heard the noise investigated and when the perpetrators ran off they shot at them. Who was at fault? The teens breaking into the fish camp at 4 am or the fishermen who shot at their ass? Where is the outcry from the public over these poor teens who got shot at for simply stealing some junk?

    • Urdreamhm

      But think about it? You may not live in the areas that some reside and understand the crime. You may say its just a car radio but next it may be your home and then your wife or children. All crime starts little but unless there is fear of extreme consequence it WILL escalate! If everyone was concerned about the possible loss of life when committing ANY crime it might just change things. I am a Realtor and we are OVER trained in safety due to the strangers we go in empty homes with. You can only imagine the horror stories that have been told. I have been in situations myself that give me chills now to look back on. I carry a gun with me at ALL times and have one in my vehicle and bedside table…..would pull a trigger in a heartbeat without a second thought! Pray I NEVER have the need. We work hard for our possessions and they need to do the same! Theft is so low down!

    • JR Rebowitz

      The fact could be that there is no outcry for the over 218,439 crimes by children nation-wide daily, by all races of children, that can’t be televised daily, cause it would be 24-hour marathons on all stations. Raise your children to be law-abiding citizens.

    • dm

      the teens are at fault obey the law live right and don’t face the consequences of committing a felony against another person

    • Mike

      You cannot shoot at a person who is retreating or running away. That is common sense! If you shoot at someone who is running away, you will be charged with felony murder or manslaughter.

  • Chevyboy838186

    I like the castle doctorine law , it gives you protection to defend your life and belongings .
    I wouldnt think twice about shooting someone if the threat called for it .
    Always make sure that you are within your rights and be
    ready to defend your castle and life . If u hesitate to act it could be your life that is lost instead of the bad guy .
    Exercise your second amendment right .
    Use no trespassing signs signs to help cover you ass .
    In the war we used escalation of force .
    Depending on what the threat is what level of force was used .

    • mandi

      The guy that tried to molest my daughter keeps messing with us so I getting gun n shooting if he come near here cause cops wouldnt do shit to him

  • J Fed

    Hooray for this law! Iagree with every word written into this law. There are lots of bullies in AL and it is comforting to know that if I am seriously threatened with bodily harm I can take appropriate action. JFed

  • Mike

    This law is as useless as the politicians who passed it into law. I personally experienced the futility of this law. I had a bully who continuously threatened to kill me, he left numerous voice mails indicating his intent to KILL ME, he told others of his intent, he basically told everyone but law enforcement he was planning to kill me. I tried repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to diffuse this situation. I called police after the man called me at 2 am and told me he was ON HIS WAY to my home. The police came, made a report, and left. The man waited down the street for the police to leave and immediately came to my home. I called 911 AGAIN and told them to get someone here ASAP, but the situation wasn’t taken seriously, which resulted in my using deadly force to stop this man as he reached behind his back for his gun. I did not kill him as I used a 12 gauge shotgun with bird-shot shells (purposely) so that it would not kill this man. The man fled the scene and called police and told them he had been assaulted without being provoked. This man was treated as the victim from the start. He continuously lied to police, which could be proven by taped recorded evidence! This man was taken to a local hospital, treated, and released. He or his vehicle was never searched, no breathalyzer or drug test was ever performed. He had been drinking heavily and snorting cocaine when this incident occurred! He was then allowed to file aggravated assault charges against me, in spite of the overwhelming evidence that he was the aggressor, drunk, using illegal drugs, and made repeated death threats against me, of which I had several minutes of tape recorded evidence. The case was later determined as an obvious case of self-defense in the preliminary court hearing and dismissed. The investigating officer stated under oath that my actions were justified, but the damage was done. I could never understand why I was arrested if the investigating officer determined my actions were justified? I have been turned down for numerous employment opportunities because of the felony charge (no conviction) on my record. Employers don’t care about the circumstances of the case, they see a felony charge for aggravated assault, and that’s the end of there consideration. I had to pay out $5000 to an attorney and another $1000 for bail. No folks, this law is useless! You will be arrested if you use deadly force, even if you have overwhelming evidence that it is justified. After that, you will be denied employment after a background check is performed, and it will cost you thousands of dollars to make bond and hire an attorney. After the case was dismissed I spoke with the investigating officer outside the courthouse. I told the officer that I would have been better off to have killed this man! The officer looked at me and shook his head in agreement. Lesson learned, if you find yourself in a situation where you must use deadly force to protect yourself, fire away until you are sure the person is deceased, otherwise you will have your life destroyed!

    • Matt Surles

      Allowing him to leave after he broke into your home and threatened your life was your mistake because killing in fear of losing your own life as always been a valid self defense option even without the stand your ground law. They would investigate sure but you would never have been arrested and once they did an autopsy on him and found drugs in his system then you are clear.

  • Mike

    In Alabama, you will be arrested and charged with a felony if you use deadly force against another person (unless you are a police officer), no matter what the circumstances! NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES!! Although your case may get dismissed by the courts, by the time that happens, your life has been destroyed. Run, hide, do whatever it takes to avoid using ANY type of force against another person. Trust me, I speak from experience! You will loose your job, your home, your cars, your savings, and probably your family and it will be impossible for you to get another job with a felony charge which WILL show up on a background check. Employers will see that felony charge and they will remove your name from consideration, it’s almost automatic. If a person breaks into your home and starts shooting at your children, and you use a golf club to knock the intruder out, you will be arrested and charged will felony aggravated assault (if they are injured), or manslaughter/murder (if they die) and you will be locked up! It’s hard to believe, but criminals have a big advantage over law abiding citizens and they know it because most of them have already been thru the system and they know how anti-victim the courts are! The courts coddle criminals and crucify victims! It’s all about protecting the rights of the criminals and making the victims into criminals for not letting the career criminals steal everything you own or rape/beat/kill you and your family! The courts and judges are pro-criminal/anti-victim!

    • Tommy

      What are you smoking? If you are defending yourself you will not have your life destroyed. Several years ago a man and his 3-year-old daughter were leaving a cell phone store and the man was putting his daughter in her child seat which was in his pickup. They were approached by three young men. One of the men produced a gun and demanded his wallet. The man pleaded with him not to hurt him or his daughter and told the criminal his wallet was under his seat in his pickup truck. The criminal told him to get it and hand it over and the man reached under his seat and got his gun and shot the criminal in the face killing him instantly. He let the other two men run away. The Dothan Chief of Police was interviewed on television and said “the man feared for his and his daughter’s lives, he had a valid permit to carry a handgun, he defended himself and his daughter and let the other two who were not posing an immediate threat flee the scene and no charges will be filed against him. He wasn’t even arrested. I don’t know where you dreamed this info up but it is exactly wrong.

  • Mike

    The anti-gun proponents have no idea how stupid there arguments are! The US Gov’t can make all guns illegal for ownership by Americans and there will still be massacres in movie theaters because criminals will still have guns. The only thing making guns illegal will do is to make hunting a thing of the past and shooting for sport (target shooting and skeet shooting) illegal! There will still be people being shot at schools and other public places.

  • JR

    I was attacked in my house my someone I knew. I allowed him to come in my house where he picked up my computer and threatened to smash it (I knew at the time of him pulling a knife on someone and smashing their TV) if I didn’t give him a Xanax. I said I don’t have any knowing he had stabbed another friend the day before in the back, and now that guy was in the hospital with a punctured lung. I knew this. Then bam! I was sitting down and he was standing up and he smashed my computer and hit me in the back of the head. I was knocked to the ground, by being hit in the back of the head. I reached in my pocket and stabbed him once, only to have him reach in his pocket pull a knife and come at me. I stabbed him 2 more times, called 911 twice. I made a statement which was conflicting about who pulled the knife out first. The hospital did 4 major things wrong in his care and he died 4 days later. I was charged with murder and scarred to death of 20 to life for protecting myself. I then got bad on drugs and got caught with them in my car and lied to the police about them being mine and this blew my credibility and my lawyer said he could not defend this. The prosecution offered me two years and I took it and ran, hating that this whole thing happened. Some people think I stabbed him, because he smashed my computer.. NO! If he would not of attacked me, he never would of been hurt, especially me knowing he stabbed somebody else in the back the day before.

  • Lyle John

    I have been searching and searching for answers to my two questions but can’t find an answer. First question: If some one is breaking into my car which is parked in my drive way do I have a right to shoot him. It seems like it falls under the burglary or robbery in any degree portion of the statue but just not sure. Second question involves a real life event that just happened to my buddy last weekend. If you arrive to your house from work ect… and there is a look out on your drive way and people inside your home stealing your possessions to you have the right to shoot any if not all of the people involved. I already know what I should do and what I would do in the two above situations but what are my legal rights.

    • Dave on the coast

      If you or a family member or any other person is/are NOT in personal physical danger from the act that is being committed, you cannot shoot the person committing the break-in. Unless, of course, you’re anxious to go to prison for the rest of your life.

    • cken

      Depends on the state you live in. Fire away they are in the act of committing a felony on your property and that would include the car. However I would call 911 and hold the criminals there at gun point. If they are armed or try to escape shoot them. This would only apply to states with a castle law or a stand your ground law. In most states in the north east and the west coast you would go to jail if you shoot given the described situations. In the rest of the country you would probably be ok.

  • EvoQY

    Just about Every Major Police dept in the USA has come out AGAINST these “stand your ground laws”. We do NOT need these Vague and meaningless laws, all they do is to make these defensive gun use situations much more complicated. And be honest with yourself, do you think it is Right to shoot an unarmed teenager that is just breaking into your home to steal some cds or something stupid like that ? If you think that is ok to shoot to kill that teenager first and not before you made sure your life was in danger then there is something wrong with our society (In My Opinion). I would NEVER shoot and Kill someone that is just breaking into my house to steal my stuff. Or I will never ever shoot and Kill a Person whilst I am out in public that says they are going to make sure that “I am Dealt with” or “I’m gonna kill that guy” or “I’m going to make him bleed” or and or. The Whole premise behind these Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground Laws…state that you do NOT have to show you tried to defuse the situation. You now have the right to shoot to kill and ask questions later. Terrible, just terrible, I could not have anyone’s life in my hands knowing that I could have backed up, tried to defuse the situation, etc. These laws are Vague, and are just plain Wrong. And furthermore; down the road when the non gun owning public sees that People are allowed to shoot and kill without trying to “get away” or “defuse”, then the public will again start the drum beat for banning guns. I am a Firm believer in the Bill of Rights and the 2nd amendment and also there is no way that I am going to kill someone unless I felt that it was either.. I am dead or he is dead Period…. This is just my opinion, you have yours and your opinion is just as important as mine. But we as Gun folk need to pay heed to all those non gun owning public. They see gun owners as rabid killers because of the news media, it isn’t fair but that is fact. Unless we as Gun Owners take a Hard Line against Gun OFFENSIVE violence then the public will not take us seriously. Guns are for DEFENSE and if the public starts to see that changing to Offensive use of firearms just to stop a burglary or some other felony then we are in trouble.

    • Red24g

      And how pray tell do you know they are” just breaking into my house to steal my stuff.” and are not instead there to rape your wife or kill you?

    • 2asupporter

      than where do you live? because i know i can come in and take anything i want while you stand there and watch /sarcasm

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.vinson.52 Jim Vinson

    i’m a liscened pistol permit carrier.what if someone attacks me at work.he continually makes comments that he blacks out when he’s angry,and that he might even try to kill someone.he is definatley stronger than me,and 14 years younger.he told me before that he would whip me on job site.job be damned he said.i’ve told him i will never harm anyone until they put there hands on me.

  • Guest

    I don’t believe this law should go anywhere. If someone tries to hurt me or one of my children I would us any kind of force necessary to protect my family, my home the the means of a living for my family. I don’t go onto anothers property trying to take what is not mine and I don’t start fights. I will only protect myself if I feel I have to and I will protect my children with my life. For them I would not hesitate to use deadly force. I will just have to deal with the consequences later.

  • standing my ground in Alabama

    I can tell anybody that if someone is in the commission of breaking down the door in my home, I will not hesitate to shoot that person. But, before you take matters into your own hands ALWAYS ask that person to identify themselves first and then if they continue to break into your home, fire away. Years ago I resided in an apartment complex with no security on site and late one night I was awoken by someone beating on my apartment door. I am so thankful I asked who it was before using my firearm. Turns out it was my boyfriend who was somewhat inebriated and angry because he had lost his keys. Always think first before acting.

  • Mitch Blu

    Anyone , Any where at any time can become a killer. Saw this in real time war. Alabama is focused on football. Most of the people I have met have no idea how to protect their family or themselves . As a certified urban and rural warfare instructor , I have taught my family and friends to kill, maim or what ever it takes to survive evil. Gods speed to those that sit on there hands and wait for help..

  • Xerxes

    I was in the Marine Corps for 10 years and when not in combat (where Rules of Engagement must be followed) but standing guard duty at some facility, the responsibility is on the person about to use deadly force (namely you) for some reason.
    For example, they said that if a General is standing beside you and says “Shoot that guy”, you had better not do it unless you yourself believe that the use of deadly force is necessary. That some officer told you to is not a defense, and you will be personally held responsible for the unjustified shooting.
    The use of deadly force is regulated pretty much the same as it is in civilian life. A couple of things are different in the military version , such as the use of deadly force is authorized to prevent the theft of a weapon of mass destruction. That sounds like nuclear weapons or something but it really means machine guns, grenades, and things like that.

    • 2asupporter

      sounds like you were PRP, my condolences

  • SL

    If someone assaults me with their fists,am I within legal grounds to use a knife(pocket knife) for protection?

  • BamaTrapper

    In the State of Alabama (and Florida), you can be the initial aggressor, but if you decide to de-escalate and the provoked person remains riled up, you can use “Stand Your Ground” as a defense against deadly force…..hmmm. Seems like this law was crafted with an Evil Intent….