As a matter of law in Indiana, you’re allowed to defend your home. In the context of self-defense, the concept of the home includes your dwelling (house), curtilage (area immediately surrounding the house), or occupied motor vehicle

If you reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to prevent someone from unlawfully entering your dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle, Indiana says you’re justified in using that force. 

Unexpected Entry 

This does not mean you get to shoot anyone who enters your house without an invitation. You need to have some sort of reasonable fear of imminent danger. For example, if someone is actively trying to burglarize your house, that creates a threat to you and your family. If the burglar is fleeing the scene, the danger has already passed. 

If a person bursts into your house and starts charging you, you’re allowed to use whatever reasonable force is necessary to stop them. The same goes for your occupied motor vehicle—if someone is attempting to enter or commandeer your car, deadly force is allowed under Indiana law. 

Elements of a Self-Defense Claim 

In order to make valid self-defense claim in the State of Indiana, you must have:

  • been in a place where you had the right to be;
  • acted without fault; and
  • had a reasonable fear of bodily harm for yourself or someone else. 

For self-defense purposes, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you were actually in any danger, so long as you reasonably believed the danger was present. If you can show these three things, the burden shifts to the State to try and disprove your self-defense claim. 

If you have any questions about self-defense or defense of property, give us a call at 317-632-3642 and remember—always plead the 5th!