Use of Force on an Intruder – Changes Considered
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Current law permits Colorado citizens to use physical force, even deadly force, against another person when (1) that other person has made an unlawful entry into their dwelling, (2) when the homeowner/resident has a reasonable belief that the intruder has committed or will commit a crime in the home, and (3) when the homeowner/resident reasonably believes the intruder may use any physical force against the homeowner.  A change to this law, known as the make my day law, is currently being considered.  This change would extend the make my day law to any occupant, owner, manager, or employee of a business.  The proposed change would permit any degree of physical force, including deadly force. Under current law an occupant, owner, manager or employee of a business could only use legally use physical force if he or she could successfully assert the affirmative defense of self defense.  If the defendant successfully presents some evidence of self defense, satisfying each element, then he is entitled through his criminal defense attorney to submit to the jury a jury instruction dealing with the issue of self defense, and in so doing places the burden of proof on the prosecutor to disprove self defense beyond a reasonable doubt.