Can I Use Lethal Force To Defend My Property?

Law Blog

It is generally accepted that you have the legal right to use lethal force to defend yourself. However, if your property is at risk, you may wonder if your right to defend yourself extends to your property. Generally, you are not allowed to do so, but there are also some exceptions to this rule. Here are some examples:

You Cannot Use Booby Traps

Certain forms of lethal force are not permissible. For example, there are laws against the use of booby traps. Booby traps are concealed devices that are intended to cause physical harm or death. This can range from a sharpened spike to a device rigged to explode. It is not legal to use a booby trap to defend your property and you will be held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur as a result.

You Cannot Shoot Looters Stealing Your Property

If your property is being looted, you are usually not allowed to shoot those stealing your property even if your state has stand-your-ground laws. You will usually not be able to fire off a warning shot unless you believe that your life is directly in danger. In some states, you are only allowed to open fire on the perpetrator, but not to fire a warning shot.

You Cannot Shoot Looters without First Requesting That They Stop

Even when it is legal to use lethal or less-than-lethal force to protect your property, you are usually required to first order the looter to desist. The only exception is if such an order would be pointless to make, such as if it is too loud for the looter to hear the order, if substantial harm would be done to the property or if it would be dangerous for you to order the individual to cease his or her actions.

You Can Use Lethal Force to Defend Property In Order to Defend a Life

If any damage done to the property could then lead to the death of someone else, you may be able to use lethal force. For example, if you own a bridge and someone attempts to sabotage the bridge, placing a pedestrian walking across the bridge at risk, you may be able to use lethal force.

You Can Sometimes Use Lethal Force to Exclude Someone from Your Land

You are often allowed to use lethal force to exclude someone from your property, but not if the exclusion of that individual would cause him or her serious bodily harm. If someone is trying to enter your property to escape a charging grizzly bear, you would not be allowed to use lethal force to stop that individual.

If you are concerned with protecting your property and aren't sure about whether you are allowed to use lethal force, you should consult with a homicide lawyer. You should also consider consulting with a reputable security company.  


15 September 2015

injured at work? what do you do now?

Were you injured at work and fighting to get the workers compensation that you have paid into each year? Sometimes, getting those payments can be very difficult. What do you do when an employer fights the claim? Do you need a lawyer to help you through the process? How will you pay for a lawyer if you cannot even pay your electric bill? You are probably as lost as I was when I went through the process. Fortunately, you can learn from my experience with the system and find the answers to many of the questions that you have about filing a workers comp claim and fighting the system when it is denied.