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Understanding Colorado's Make My Day law

Ever wonder what Colorado's Make My Day law is or when it applies? A recent shooting in Pueblo County may help answer the questions surrounding the state's Make My Day law and when it can be used by individuals accused of a crime.

Earlier this week, a homeowner shot another man who was trespassing on his farm, who later died at the property. The homeowner was later arrested and charged with manslaughter.

The shooting addresses the specifics of Colorado's Make My Day law because the fatal shooting occurred on the homeowner's property but not inside his home.

Authorities stated that while this may seem like an example of a Make My Day case, it actually does not apply to this situation. While the shooting took place on the homeowner's property, it did not occur inside his home, which is a specific stipulation in Colorado's Make My Day law.

The Make My Day law is applicable when a trespasser is inside the home and the homeowner believes he or she is there to commit a crime and feels threatened. Under the law, homeowners then have the right to use deadly force to stop the individual from harming anyone or committing a crime. Homeowners who shoot someone under these circumstances are immune from criminal prosecution and civil liability.

Trespassers that are shot or suffer injuries on a homeowner's property but not inside the home are not covered under the Make My Day law. Individuals who feel threatened by someone on their property and shoot them may face criminal charges under this law.

Source: KOAA, "When does the Make My Day law actually apply?" Lacey Steele, Oct. 17, 2012

Our law firm handles violent crime and manslaughter cases. For more information, please visit our Colorado Springs violent crimes page.

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