Deadly Force May Be Used Against A Person Who Breaks Into Your Home Or Business in Michigan
Time for Review: P.A. 311 Revisited
by Steve Dulan
Michigan – -(AmmoLand.com)- In my capacity as an instructor of the legal portion of CPL classes, I have run into many renewal students who wisely decide to sit in on the legal portion in order to get up to speed on any changes in the Michigan law that have come into effect since the last time they were trained. They are often unaware of some significant changes. I plan to cover some of them here in the coming weeks in an effort to spread the word. For those of you who already know about them, hopefully you agree that it can’t hurt to review.
One of the big ones is the fact that, since October of 2006, deadly force may be used against a person who breaks into your home or business, or attempts to remove you from your car against your will. The reason is that deadly force may only be legally used when there is an actual and reasonable belief that it is necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm that could lead to death, or rape.
One of the big changes in Michigan law that went into effect in October of 2006 is laid out below. It creates what is called a “rebuttable presumption.” In law, a rebuttable presumption shifts the burden of proof. Basically, in this instance, it means that if your home or business is broken into, or someone tries to remove you from your car, you may use deadly force to protect yourself. You do not have to wait for the situation to develop further. The mere fact that the criminal has chosen to break in to your home can be taken as evidence that they are dangerous.
This change brought Michigan law closer in line with common sense and experience. However, obviously, it is not a blanket license to kill anyone who is in your home or business.
If the Prosecutor, or Plaintiff, can show that there are other facts such as the person was tricked into being there, or clearly presented no threat at all, (a child, etc.), then the presumption can be overcome. And, the case can proceed.
Remember that under Michigan law, a gun is ALWAYS considered deadly force. Do not threaten anyone with, or use your gun against, anyone who does not present an imminent threat of death, great bodily harm that could lead to death, or rape.
“MCL 780.951 Individual using deadly force or force other than deadly force; presumption; definitions. Sec. 1.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), it is a rebuttable presumption in a civil or criminal case that an individual who uses deadly force or force other than deadly force under section 2 of the self-defense act has an honest and reasonable belief that imminent death of, sexual assault of, or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another individual will occur if both of the following apply:
(a) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is in the process of breaking and entering a dwelling or business premises or committing home invasion or has broken and entered a dwelling or business premises or committed home invasion and is still present in the dwelling or business premises, or is unlawfully attempting to remove another individual from a dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle against his or her will.
(b) The individual using deadly force or force other than deadly force honestly and reasonably believes that the individual is engaging in conduct described in subdivision (a).
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if any of the following circumstances exist:
(a) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used, including an owner, lessee, or titleholder, has the legal right to be in the dwelling, business premises, or vehicle and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order, a probation order, or a parole order of no contact against that person.
(b) The individual removed or being removed from the dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle is a child or grandchild of, or is otherwise in the lawful custody of or under the lawful guardianship of, the individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used.
(c) The individual who uses deadly force or force other than deadly force is engaged in the commission of a crime or is using the dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle to further the commission of a crime.
(d) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is a peace officer who has entered or is attempting to enter a dwelling, business premises, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties in accordance with applicable law.
(e) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is the spouse or former spouse of the individual using deadly force or force other than deadly force, an individual with whom the individual using deadly force or other than deadly force has or had a dating relationship, an individual with whom the individual using deadly force or other than deadly force has had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of his or her household, and the individual using deadly force or other than deadly force has a prior history of domestic violence as the aggressor.”
Steve Dulan (www.StevenWDulan.com) is a member of the Board of Directors of the MCRGO and the MCRGO Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCRGO Foundation. He is an attorney in private practice in East Lansing and Adjunct Professor of firearms law at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. as well as an NRA Life Member.
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We’re growing larger and more effective every day.
Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation”