Castle Doctrine Law: Mississippi

Throughout the nation, castle doctrine laws are an idea or a standard to aspire to, not necessarily a specific text to be copied and pasted into a state’s law books.

flag of Mississippi

Put another way, all states that can be said to have castle doctrine laws word them a little bit different but the effect is broadly the same.

Affording citizens forced to defend themselves from violent criminals while inside their homes or place of businesses maximum protection and support under the law.

Mississippi is one such state and I can tell you right up front that they do not mess around when it comes to castle doctrine, and they might prove to have the most strongly worded, pro-citizen standard yet codified into law.

With excellent protections against malicious prosecution and comprehensive standards for justification, Mississippi is definitely a front-runner in this category.

Nonetheless, it isn’t a “free fire zone” that detractors would make it out to be, and there’s plenty you should learn if you want to stay on the right side of the law.

Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know, and make sure you stop to check out the exact text of the state statutes at the end of the article.

Fast Facts

  • Mississippi law justifies the use of force in defense, including lethal force, so long as it is required to prevent imminent death or infliction of great bodily injury upon the defender or a third party.
  • There is no obligation to retreat or to attempt retreat in Mississippi if you are attacked in your home, place of business, occupied vehicle or any other place you have a legal, lawful right to be.
  • Lethal force is also justified to stop someone from committing a forcible felony against you or a third party, or the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

Overview of Castle Doctrine Law in Mississippi

Mississippi’s laws covering self-defense and their castle doctrine statutes in particular are just about as clear as it can get on the matter.

At any time and any place that a person happens to be lethal force may be used to defend themselves against the threat of death or great bodily injury at the hands of a criminal assailant.

This applies if a person is inside their home, inside their place of business, a temporary domicile, and occupied vehicle, or any other structure.

Furthermore, there is no obligation to the state under the law for a defender to retreat or to attempt retreat prior to resorting to force, including lethal force, in self-defense.

When the situation calls for such a response a person may defend himself at the instant so long as they have a reasonable belief that they may die or be gravely injured if they don’t.


Like every state with castle doctrine laws, you may never claim self-defense and particularly may never resort to lethal force in defense if you are trespassing or in a place illegally in some way.

Similarly, you may never be engaged in a crime or otherwise furthering the commission of a crime and claim self-defense.

It is also worth pointing out that you may never use lethal force in defense of property, real or otherwise, except in the rarest scenarios.

If someone is committing or about to commit arson, for instance, then lethal force might be justified to prevent the commission of that felony but think carefully before you commit to such a course of action!


Mississippi is one of the frontrunners in the nation for the best and most unambiguous castle doctrine laws on the books.

So long as you are in any place you have a legal right to be, and you are not engaged in the commission or furtherance of any crime, you may use force up to lethal force in self-defense if it is required to prevent the threat of death or great bodily injury being inflicted on you or another person.

At no time is there an obligation to retreat prior to resorting to force when defending yourself.

Relevant Mississippi Castle Doctrine Statutes

Mississippi Code Title 97. Crimes § 97-3-15. Justifiable homicide

(1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement or omission of another shall be justifiable in the following cases:

(a) When committed by public officers, or those acting by their aid and assistance, in obedience to any judgment of a competent court;

(b) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process, or to the discharge of any other legal duty;

(c) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in retaking any felon who has been rescued or has escaped;

(d) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in arresting any felon fleeing from justice;

(e) When committed by any person in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling, in any occupied vehicle, in any place of business, in any place of employment or in the immediate premises thereof in which such person shall be;

(f) When committed in the lawful defense of one’s own person or any other human being, where there shall be reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury, and there shall be imminent danger of such design being accomplished;

(g) When necessarily committed in attempting by lawful ways and means to apprehend any person for any felony committed;

(h) When necessarily committed in lawfully suppressing any riot or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace;  and

(i) When necessarily committed in the performance of duty as a member of a church or place of worship security program as described in Section 45-9-171 .


(b) As used in subsection (1)(c) and (d) of this section the term “felon” shall include an offender who has been convicted of a felony and shall also include an offender who is in custody, or whose custody is being sought, on a charge or for an offense which is punishable, upon conviction, by death or confinement in the Penitentiary.

(c) As used in subsections (1)(e) and (3) of this section, “dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind that has a roof over it, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, including a tent, that is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, including any attached porch.

(3) A person who uses defensive force shall be presumed to have reasonably feared imminent death or great bodily harm, or the commission of a felony upon him or another or upon his dwelling, or against a vehicle which he was occupying, or against his business or place of employment or the immediate premises of such business or place of employment, if the person against whom the defensive force was used, was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, occupied vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof or if that person had unlawfully removed or was attempting to unlawfully remove another against the other person’s will from that dwelling, occupied vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof and the person who used defensive force knew or had reason to believe that the forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.  This presumption shall not apply if the person against whom defensive force was used has a right to be in or is a lawful resident or owner of the dwelling, vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof or is the lawful resident or owner of the dwelling, vehicle, business, place of employment or the immediate premises thereof or if the person who uses defensive force is engaged in unlawful activity or if the person is a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his official duties.

(4) A person who is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in unlawful activity shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force under subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section if the person is in a place where the person has a right to be, and no finder of fact shall be permitted to consider the person’s failure to retreat as evidence that the person’s use of force was unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable.

(5)(a) The presumptions contained in subsection (3) of this section shall apply in civil cases in which self-defense or defense of another is claimed as a defense.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *