Attorney Wolfe Litigating the Castle Doctrine of Self Defense in Delaware, Ohio

An interesting case is pending in the Delaware Ohio Municipal Court, involving whether a driver may come to the defense of others who are in his car.  In this case, the Defendant was involved in a road rage incident where another driver was tailgating him and shouted obscenities when he would not move out of the other driver's way.  Eventually the cars came to a stop light, and the other driver exited his car and approached my client's vehicle on foot.  My client exited the vehicle and drew his concealed firearm, pointing it at the man on foot, who was not armed.  The man on foot got into his car and fled.  No shots were fired.

Eventually my client was charged with inducing panic, reckless operation, and menacing.  We plan to defend the client by arguing the castle doctrine applies, because of one's right in Ohio to use deadly force when someone attempts to enter your home or automobile.    What makes this case different than most is that the driver exited the car in order to defend the others inside.

Ohio Rev. Code §2901.05(B) creates a presumption of self defense if the driver  “us(ed] defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm” against a person who was “in the process of unlawfully and without privilege to do so entering, or ha[d] unlawfully and without privilege to do so entered the residence or vehicle occupied by the [accused].”     All three of the following requirements must be met for self defense: (1) the person is not at fault in creating the situation; (2) the person has a bona fide belief that he is in imminent danger of great bodily harm or that his only means of escape is the force used; and (3) the person has not violated a duty to retreat or avoid the danger.

Also see:  State v. Williford (1990), 49 Ohio St. 3d 247 -- "If a person in good faith and in reasonable ground believes that a family member is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, such person may use reasonably necessary force to defend the family member to the same extent as the person would be entitled to use force in self-defense.  ( from Sharp v. State [1850], 19 Ohio 379, and State v. Sheets [1926], 115 Ohio St. 308..., approved and followed.)"

All three of the following requirements must be met for self defense: (1) the person is not at fault in creating the situation; (2) the person has a bona fide belief that he is in imminent danger of great bodily harm or that his only means of escape is the force used; and (3) the person has not violated a duty to retreat or avoid the danger.

 

 

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