With political tensions at an all-time high, many cities have seen mass riots. Most of us have seen several videos on the news of businesses being looted, houses being burned, and worst of all, innocent people being harmed for defending what is rightfully theirs.
This article is not meant to incite violence by any means, but is rather meant to help our readers prepare for worst-case scenarios where they might need to defend themselves and their property. What are your rights as a property owner, and what measures are you allowed to employ in order to defend yourself and your property? Read on to learn more.
Can I Use Lethal Force?
Even if your state has “stand-your-ground” laws, these laws do not automatically permit the use of lethal force. Buying a gun and getting licensed to use it is not enough reason to use lethal force. The purpose behind these laws is to provide protection to those who are forced to use lethal force to protect themselves, as long as it is meant to prevent them from being harmed. These laws do not extend to the property they own. Thus, unless you are sure you’re about to come to harm, you cannot use force on a rioter.
However, in Texas, the use of lethal force is legal so long as the defender reasonably believes that his inaction will only serve to endanger someone. If you really must use force, it’s important to be prepared to take legal action by consulting a seasoned personal injury lawyer like this Texas Personal Injury Attorney.
Just as there are regulations when it comes to concealed carry, there are regulations surrounding the use of warning shots. While warning shots may not seem like they can cause harm, they have to be done within legal bounds. A warning shot needs to be done only as a reasonable response in order to deter an imminent attack. Firing a warning shot just because a crowd was gathering in front of your house may get you in trouble with the law, as this can be perceived as an unprovoked threat rather than a deterrent.
The Castle Doctrine
This legal principle is also referred to as the “defense of habitation law”, and it designates a person’s home as a place where that person is protected and is thus granted immunity that allows that person to use force (this also includes lethal force) so long as it is a means for self-defense.
This degree of protection also depends on the location where the incident happens. A person is expected to retreat when possible in order to avoid violence, but this duty of retreat is lessened when the person is attacked in his own home. It is during these circumstances when the use of deadly force may be justifiable.
What If I Kill an Intruder?
A justifiable homicide occurs when an assailant is killed by the occupant of the home. According to the castle doctrine, the mere occurrence of trespassing and the presence of a threat (as perceived by a reasonable person) are enough to justify killing an intruder.
However, as previously stated, there are certain conditions that must be met in order for the castle doctrine to become applicable. This is not a measure that is meant to stifle a defender’s ability to protect himself, but rather a measure that is meant to prevent the misuse of the doctrine as a cause to enact extrajudicial punishment in one’s home.
While we may be living in dangerous times, it’s important to be careful with our actions, and to exercise proper care with handling and storing firearms. As we all know, the law will always place an emphasis on protecting the sanctity of life. To take a life, or even to simply threaten it, should be done as a last resort when things deteriorate beyond reason.