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Wisconsin Castle Doctrine | Self-Defense Laws

Understanding The Wisconsin Castle Doctrine

The Wisconsin Castle Doctrine provides civil and criminal protections to property owners who use force against intruders in order to protect themselves, their family or guests, or their property from serious harm. Specifically, the doctrine states that “someone in their home, business or motor vehicle has no duty to retreat from an attack or intruder, and presumes the use of force is reasonable to prevent death or serious harm.”

The doctrine provides two important points of protection for property owners, specifically:

  1. the presumption of immunity from civil and criminal charges that may result from the owners’ use of force in an act of self-defense against an intruder, and
  2. by removing from consideration any question as to whether the property owner had an opportunity to flee or retreat before using force.

These are important protections that address a common argument in such cases: “Was the use of force appropriate in this situation?” The Wisconsin doctrine essentially makes this question irrelevant.

Exceptions to Wisconsin Castle Doctrine Protections

Wisconsin law generally favors property owners who are acting in self-defense, but there are exceptions. A property owner may lose the protections granted by the Castle Doctrine if:

  1. They were engaged in criminal activity, and someone is hurt or injured.
  2. They act against a public safety officer who is trying to enter the premises in the performance of their duties, and the property owner knows this is the case.

Self-Defense Remains a Legal Gray Area

Self-defense arguments always present a challenge in court. It’s an area of law that has many gray areas, even with protections like the Wisconsin Castle Doctrine. Enlisting the help of a qualified Wisconsin defense attorney will improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome, even if you believe it is obvious you acted in completely. Your record and reputation are too valuable to leave to chance. Contact the defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices for help if you are facing manslaughter, assault, battery, or homicide charges after acting in self-defense.

Contact Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or by email at to arrange a free consultation.