What’s the Law: Hawaii’s new “Castle Law”

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

TOPIC: Hawaii’s new “Castle Law”

Question: With the new “castle law” signed by the Governor, can I shoot a person who has broken into my home?

Answer: The so-called “castle law” is actually a “limiting liability” law. It provides that you, as the owner or renter, are protected from law suits for death or injury to the perpetrator who is engaged in certain specified felonies on your property. These felonies include murder; felony assault; and those involving violence, physical harm, serious bodily injury; and the use of firearms, deadly or dangerous weapons. However, if the person in your home is only committing theft, you are NOT protected. If the theft turns into a robbery, this law may protect you.

Note: there are important differences between robbery (violence or threat to achieve a theft), theft (stealing things),and burglary (entering with the intent to commit a crime). The new law is very complicated and untested. This answer is a quick, simplified overview. You may want to study Act 97 in detail and develop a world class headache.

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