What is your legal right as a Nebraskan if someone breaks into your home?
The right to defend yourself, a law that is different state by state.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – In the state of Nebraska, we follow what is known as the Castle Doctrine, which means a person has a ‘duty to retreat.’
Nebraska Law says a person threatened has a duty to retreat if it is safe to do so but that does not include at your home or workplace. If you are home and your house gets broken into or you’re attacked in your workplace parking lot, you have the right to defend yourself.
“I can stand my ground on my home property and that applies to the workplace as well, so if I am out in front of my workplace guarding my front door, arguably my rights to self defense indicates I don’t have a duty to retreat. Now, if I leave my workplace and then I stop at Casey’s General Store and I am attacked there and it’s safe for me to retreat, then legally I’m required to retreat,” Chris Ferdico, an attorney with Berry Law said.
You need to believe you’re in serious danger before you have the right for self defense. Now that brings up another question, if you feel your life is in harm and you’re unable to retreat, what force legally can you use on an intruder?
“You have the right to use self defense if someone if going to use unlawful force against you. You can only use deadly force if you believe you are or someone you’re protecting is a subject to serious bodily harm, the threat of kidnapping, or the threat of rape,” Ferdico said.
Many states that surround us have a different self defense law called ‘Stand Your Ground law,’ which means a person doesn’t have the duty to retreat at all, wherever. Governor Pete Ricketts said back in 2018, he was open to that law, although similar bills have failed in Nebraska within the last several years.
“If there is a senator that wants to work on a ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill I am happy to sit down and work with that senator about how we can improve public safety,” Ricketts said.
While Ferdico practices law everyday, he also teaches it. He says his self defense class is in high demand right now. Between recent civil unrest and political division, he says firearm purchases are going through the roof.
For more information on the use of force in self-protection, head to the Nebraska Legislatures website.