Even in your own home, if someone broke in and is about to shoot you, you have to jump out your window or you're violating duty to retreat.
Not quite. The law in NJ, with regard to a duty to retreat, states:
N.J. Stat. § 2C:3-4 - Use of force in self-protection
(2) The use of deadly force is not justifiable under this section unless the actor reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death or serious bodily harm; nor is it justifiable if:
. . .
(b) The actor knows
that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety
by retreating or by surrendering possession of a thing to a person asserting a claim of right thereto or by complying with a demand that he abstain from any action which he has no duty to take, except that:
(i) The actor is not obliged to retreat from his dwelling
, unless he was the initial aggressor;
Note how it says "from
his dwelling" which is ambiguous. It reads that while you have no duty to jump out the window to avoid using deadly force, you do have a duty to retreat within
your own house. In 1998, a state appellate court, dealing with a deadly force case where the shooter killed a man in his kitchen (i.e. - did not retreat to his bedroom) stated: "A person need not retreat if the person is attacked in his or her home by someone who is not a cohabitant." State v. Blanks
, 313 N.J. Super. 55, 63 (1998). The case has since been cited with approval multiple times.
So while there is no statutory
castle doctrine in NJ, it looks like the courts
have read and applied the law that way. But I stand by my statement and analysis above regarding ball peen hammers. So you can kill someone with a hammer in your house if you need to, without retreating, but you cannot carry it down the street unless you are going to a construction site. Enjoy your state.