Remember, many states strictly forbid the use of deadly force to protect your property.
Let’s look at the potential criminal consequences you could face if you decide to confront these types of perpetrators with force or deadly force.
Texas Penal Code Section 9.41 explains that a person is allowed to use force, but not deadly force, to terminate a mere trespass or interference with property.
“Trespass” occurs when a person enters onto or into property, knowing that entry is forbidden or remains on the property after being told to leave by someone with authority.
“Theft” or “Interference with Property” occurs when a person takes another’s property with the intent to deprive them of that property and without the owner’s consent.
Going back to the example above, if you grab your firearm, go outside and fire a shot at the trespasser or someone merely creeping around your yard, you will likely find yourself facing a serious felony. In these circumstances, Texas Law only permits the use of force, not deadly force.
Now, what if the trespasser sees you, but instead of running away, he comes toward you with a weapon in one hand and your property in the other? It’s important to note that this is no longer a mere trespass. It has quickly changed to an attempted murder or an aggravated robbery. This distinction is important when we discuss the use of force or deadly force because if you choose to use deadly force and fire upon the perpetrator, your conduct will likely be justified.
Remember, the starting point for using force or deadly force in Texas can be boiled down to two things: reasonableness and immediate necessity.
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