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What can you do if you catch someone breaking into your home or property?

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What can you do if you catch someone breaking into your home or property?

Old 11-01-05, 03:54 PM
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What can you do if you catch someone breaking into your home or property?

What are you legally allowed to do to someone if you catch them breaking into your home, or just around your property? I think about this all the time, and after reading the peeping tom thread I am curious.

If I catch someone in their house, can I seriously just break their legs with a bat and not get in trouble?

Has anyone ever been in a situation like this? Maybe not as serious, but anyone ever catch someone breaking into their house?
Old 11-01-05, 03:56 PM
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i learned about that from Pulp Fiction
Old 11-01-05, 04:01 PM
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Often times I think the best case would be getting them to leave and then calling the police. If you are 100% sure they are alone and not armed and you are bigger than them (maybe a neighbor kid or something) you could potentially hold them and call 911 or yell for a neighbor to.

I don't think you're allowed to physically harm them unless they physically threaten you. Not sure though.
Old 11-01-05, 04:02 PM
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That's an interesting question... I would speculate that it would vary from state to state. Not sure how it works here in Canada, either.

Hehe... reminds me of the Simpsons:

Wiggum: And once a man is in your home anything you do to him is nice and legal.
Homer: Is that so? (Calls Ned Flanders over) Oh Flanders, won't you join me in my kitchen?
Ned: Hidely hi, neighbour.
Wiggum: It doesn't work if you invite them.
Homer: Get lost, Flanders!
Ned: Toodley-oo.
Old 11-01-05, 04:20 PM
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I'm sure the law says I'd get in trouble, but if I walk downstairs at 2 a.m. and some stranger is standing in my kitchen, then I'm hitting them with the nearest lamp and I'm not going to stop hitting them until they're on the ground and still. My defense? "Your honor, I totally wigged out. My bad."
Old 11-01-05, 04:26 PM
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good question. i thought it was acceptable/legal to beat the crap out of them..
Old 11-01-05, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by uberjoe
I'm sure the law says I'd get in trouble, but if I walk downstairs at 2 a.m. and some stranger is standing in my kitchen, then I'm hitting them with the nearest lamp and I'm not going to stop hitting them until they're on the ground and still. My defense? "Your honor, I totally wigged out. My bad."
And then the burglar would sue the pants off you, and he would win. Now, don't you just love lawyers?
Old 11-01-05, 04:31 PM
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each state has their own laws on this. but you can if you shoot someone below the waist, its not considered manslaughter. at least thats what i remember from the chappelle show season 2 dvd
Old 11-01-05, 04:32 PM
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It varies by state. Here in The People's Republic of New Jersey, we are required by law to be a victim. Seriously.
Old 11-01-05, 04:36 PM
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If someone is in my house, I will shoot them and take my chances with a jury in the unlikely case that charges are filed. All you really have to prove is that you felt threatened, which shouldn't be to hard.

Last edited by cdollaz; 11-01-05 at 04:53 PM.
Old 11-01-05, 04:39 PM
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If you feel threatened you are morally obligated to protect yourself. Here in IL a man was robbed and his car and housekeys were stolen. The very next night the robber CAME BACK using his housekeys to get in and rob him while he was home. The homeowner shot him several times but he lived and the man defending his home was under legal scruitny but not arrested or fined.
Old 11-01-05, 04:46 PM
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Don't be a burglar at night in Texas - past sundown, "he needed killin'" is a legal defense.
Old 11-01-05, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Goose
And then the burglar would sue the pants off you, and he would win. Now, don't you just love lawyers?
Well, his next of kin would sue me, I'm sure. And like someone else mentioned, I'd take my chances with a jury on that. I know if I was on a jury then I'd be mightily inclined to let someone in my position go free.
Old 11-01-05, 04:56 PM
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Louisiana has the "shoot the burglar" law. I assume the law is still valid and well it speaks for itself. They also have the "shoot the carjacker" law....again no explanation needed.
Old 11-01-05, 05:10 PM
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Florida has the what is it, "Home Castle" law or something. Basically, if you're threatened by someone else and they invade your space, you're legally obligated to make with the killing. If someone tries to grab you in a dark alleyway, you may assume the worst, and kill their sorry asses, all of it is covered under this wonderful law. It assumes you WILL be a victim if you DON'T take action, not let this guy come into my house with a gun and assume he will let me live.
Old 11-01-05, 05:11 PM
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Though it will vary by state, you are not allowed to use deadly force to protect your property. Your life is a different story. Most likely you would have to convince the jury that you felt your life was in danger, which should be fairly easy to do. But if you keep beating them with a lamp, as uberjoe wants to do, you could have some trouble.
Old 11-01-05, 05:11 PM
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Fortunately I've never been in this situation, although my parents were (and they slept righ through it!! They found the open window and muddy footprints leading up to thier bedroom the next morning, along with some missing computer stuff. Scary).

Were anyone to be in my home, my assumption would be that they aren't there for my well being, therefore, they will be beaten with whatever I can get my hands on. How could someone break into your home without you feeling threatened??
Old 11-01-05, 05:13 PM
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NC has the "Make my day" law. Someone breaks into your house, you can blow him away. I'm not certain what the law is here in Georgia, but I'd be willing to take my chances with a jury. Southerners tend to understand defending one's property (see Alabama).
Old 11-01-05, 05:40 PM
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in my house its called the "Kill The Motherfucker" law...the law states, that if you come into my house uninvited, or threaten my family in any way I will Kill you until you are dead, and then i will take any cash from your wallet to teach you a lesson. Courts be damned, and hang me if you must, but my family will not be threatened.
Old 11-01-05, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Erasmus
Don't be a burglar at night in Texas - past sundown, "he needed killin'" is a legal defense.
That's funny.

I'm sure here in the land of hippies, I'm sure we can't do anything like defend ourselves without getting sued. Stupid hippies.
Old 11-01-05, 06:43 PM
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Where do I go to find out where my state stands on the issue? AL if anyone wants to look it up. I don't know what to search for.
Old 11-01-05, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by asabase
Where do I go to find out where my state stands on the issue? AL if anyone wants to look it up. I don't know what to search for.
http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/lyon-sibley18a1.htm

Section 13A-3-23 - Use of force in defense of a person.

(a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force if the actor reasonably believes that such other person is:

(1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force; or

(2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling; or

(3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape or forcible sodomy.

Last edited by covenant; 11-01-05 at 07:14 PM.
Old 11-01-05, 09:14 PM
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In my home it is "kill 'em and dispose of the body before sunrise." I'll be damned if some punk is going to come into my home and try to take my property. I'd kill the SOB and then find a way to hide the body so that it would never be found. Then I'd fix the window/door they broke and be on my merry way -- till the next fool tried the same thing.
Old 11-01-05, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Goose
And then the burglar would sue the pants off you, and he would win. Now, don't you just love lawyers?
Thats why you kill them. A police officer once told me that if someone broke into your house and you shot them, but they managed to drag themselves outside, drag them back in the house.
Old 11-01-05, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
Though it will vary by state, you are not allowed to use deadly force to protect your property. Your life is a different story. Most likely you would have to convince the jury that you felt your life was in danger, which should be fairly easy to do. But if you keep beating them with a lamp, as uberjoe wants to do, you could have some trouble.
I think TX and FL are two of the states that allow you to shoot first and ask questions later.

It all comes down to the percieved threat. If you can justify shooting someone in your house because you percieve threat to yourself or family, usually that's enough for charges not to be filed. I can remember a few cases that went to trial here in AZ where the CA actually filed on these charges, but no sympathetic jury is going to convict in a situation like this.

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