The following is a video transcript.

Let’s talk about your rights to defend your property in North Carolina. Imagine you hear a noise and look out your window to see a hooded figure at your car, just before he breaks your driver’s side window. What are the laws of defending your property when a person is breaking into your car on your own property?

Deadly Force

The first thing to remember in North Carolina is that you may never use deadly force to protect property. That means in the situation we just described, you may not use deadly force to prevent someone from breaking into your car. Deadly force is force that is likely to kill someone or cause serious bodily harm (like if you shoot someone).


You may, however, use reasonable non-deadly force against another to stop them from taking your property. That means you could tackle, or grab, or punch someone to keep them from stealing your property.

You’re also justified to use force to recover property immediately after it is stolen. Often termed “one fresh pursuit,” this means you may chase down someone who has just broken into your car and taken something and use non-deadly efforts to recover your property. Obviously, in either situation, if you confront a car thief and they pull a weapon on you, then you may use deadly force to protect yourself if you have a reasonable belief you are facing death or serious bodily harm. If someone is attempting to break into your car on your property, you cannot use deadly force, but you can use non-deadly force to prevent them from breaking in, or to catch them fleeing with your property.

For more information about your legal rights to protect your property, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.