Illinois’ Laws on the Use of Force
March 1, 2021
The laws of each state make it possible to punish those who take a life, and like those laws, self-defense laws vary. Illinois does not have a Castle Doctrine statute that states that people may use reasonable force to defend themselves against an intruder.
However, the state has multiple laws that cover a justifiable use of force. These statues include the use of force in defense of a person and a dwelling.
Defense of a Person
Illinois statute 720 ILS 5/7-1(a) says there is justification for individuals to use force against another if they believe it is necessary. Those same individuals can only use deadly force if there is a possibility that the harm intended against them may cause death or significant bodily injury.
A person can use deadly force during the act of a felony such as sexual assault, murder and arson.
Defense of a Home
There is justification in using force if a person believes another intends unlawful entry into a home or dwelling. The person can use deadly force if:
• The other person attempts violent access
• He or she believes force is necessary to prevent the act of a felony
Illinois statute also covers the use of force in defense of other property. A person may use this if he or she thinks it is necessary to keep another person from trespassing on real or personal property. An individual may use force to defend the property of an immediate family member or of a person whose property he or she has the legal duty to protect.