Does the defense against an Intruder Law in Colorado apply for my garage?

According to Colorado law, you are aloud to use lethal or deadly force against someone who has unlawfully entered your dwelling. This is also nicknamed the “make my day law” in Colorado. It is also known as castle doctrine. Lets read the Statue, which is 18-1-704.5

18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder

(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.

(5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “dwelling” does not include any place of habitation in a detention facility, as defined in section 18-8-211 (4).

Source: (http://www.lpdirect.net/casb/crs/18-1-704_5.html)

The question I receive a lot from students is my garage covered in this law? What about my detached garage? After my research, I can come to a conclusion as an instructor. Lets look at some definitions for a “dwelling” in Colorado.

According to statue 18-1-901. the definition of a dwelling is (g) “Dwelling” means a building which is used, intended to be used, or usually used by a person for habitation.

So what does this mean? Does this include your garage?? Most of all, what if it is attached?

Lets look at more definitions.

According to the state of Colorado’s DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, the definition is a Dwelling means any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.

Source: https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-18/article-1/part-9/section-18-1-901/

This is the State of Colorado websites definition of a dwelling.

Dwelling, multi-family means a detached principal building containing townhouses, row houses
or apartments designed for or used by three (3) or more families, each family living as an independent
housekeeping unit, the total number of families in residence not exceeding the total number of dwelling
units.
Dwelling, single-family means a detached principal building designed for or used as a dwelling
exclusively by one (1) family as an independent housekeeping unit.
Dwelling, two-family means a detached principal building designed for or used as a dwelling
exclusively by two (2) families each living as an independent housekeeping unit.
Exterior view means the extent or range of vision directed toward the development from any
location beyond the boundaries of the development.
Family means 1) an individual or two (2) or more persons related by blood, marriage or domestic
partnership/civil union or 2) an individual or two (2) or more unrelated persons, provided also that the
total occupancy does not exceed: a) one (1) person per each four hundred (400) square feet of
habitable floor area as defined by Chapter 18 of this Code, excluding any garage; or b) two (2) persons
per bedroom. For purpose of this definition, any dwelling not having a separate room designated for
sleeping shall be considered to have one (1) bedroom.

Source: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/013_CHAPTER%2016%20Zoning.pdf

According to the definition above, the state excludes your garage as a dwelling. In conclusion your right to defend yourself is based off of your “dwelling”. According to Colorado law above, they do not consider your garage as apart of your home. The lines and limits on the make my day law, is based off of building code.

 

 

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