Many people want to be able to use a self-defense argument when they have been charged with a criminal offense. Many times this is a legitimate defense, but other times you can’t use self-defense to be acquitted of a crime. Learn information about Newark, NJ here.

Castle Doctrine

Fortunately, New Jersey has a law known as the castle doctrine. This is a law brought over from old English common law where citizens have a right to defend their castle against intruders. The duty to retreat in an encounter doesn’t apply when the other person is intruding into your home.


However, if you start the fight, you lose your right to use the castle doctrine for self-defense. Even if you start the fight in your own home, you are the aggressor and you are not defending your own home.

Stand Your Ground?

The stand-your-ground-law does not apply in New Jersey. There are 25 states where it does apply, but New Jersey is not among them. In New Jersey, you still have the duty to retreat before you start using force.

Also, in New Jersey, you are required to demand the intruder leave your home before you use force. You are not allowed to shoot someone if they aren’t threatening you. If they are just walking away with your laptop, you can’t use deadly force.