How the Castle Doctrine gives you the right to defend yourself

How the Castle Doctrine gives you the right to defend yourself
Greg McCollum, Defense Attorney
Greg McCollum, Defense Attorney

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We're finding out more about the laws in the Palmetto State that are designed to protect you after a North Myrtle Beach man wasn't charged for fatally shooting a man at his house Tuesday night. The "Castle Doctrine" law it gives you every right to defend yourself.

At his home Tuesday night, Randy Buchanan, 50, shot another man to death. Buchanan was taken into police custody and released after the fatal shooting. Joshua McCoy, 35, of Little River, died after the shooting. Representatives for the Horry County Solicitor's Office responded to the scene, and based on their initial findings and narratives, they advised the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety not to charge Buchanan, until further investigation into the events surrounding the shooting, based on the Protection of Persons and Property Act, or the Castle Doctrine.

Defense Attorney, Greg McCollum explained what are your rights under the Castle Doctrine.

"Under the Castle Doctrine, actually force doesn't have to exist, you simply have the right to use deadly force to defend your home from an intruder, you can shoot someone who is unarmed as long as they qualify as an intruder and it's your house, then you pretty much are free to defend yourself and use deadly force," he said.

McCollum said it is a terrible situation for anybody to be in, but he explains legally, if a person is in danger, they have the right to defend themselves. McCollum added, "If the individual is being investigated for shooting or killing someone who is at his house, in other words, he is in his house or his castle, then the person who he shot, is not necessary that person actually threatening him, if that person is intruding into his house, the law presumes, the law creates that threat, as if it was there and he gets the legal benefit even though it may not be there."

McCollum said these type of cases happen often. He said, "There are cases certainly and there are instances where this arises from time to time in factual situations, and sometimes the individual is not arrested because based on the investigation they determined they can not arrest the individual because they acted lawfully, and this law gives them immunity from prosecution, which is a big factor, because it did not exist before the passage of this law."

McCollum says it's important that you understand that self-defense means it's an immediate threat. "You have to be in danger can't be later, and the person has to be in a close enough position or have the right kind of weapon where you know they can hurt you and they are getting ready to and then you have the right to defend yourself."

The defense attorney said South Carolina also has the Stand Your Ground law.

"Under Stand Your Ground law, in the past, if you were being threatened you had the duty to retreat, that has since been taken away. The law no longer requires somebody to retreat - you have the right to literally stand your ground and use as much force necessary to defend yourself," McCollum said.

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