The following is a video transcript.
Let’s say you hear a noise and look outside and see a hooded figure outside your car, just before it breaks your driver’s side window! What can you do in this scenario? How should you react?
Unless there happen to be people inside your vehicle at this time, such as a baby in a car seat as you were getting ready to leave for a trip, you cannot use deadly force at this point. With people inside the vehicle, you have a valid argument that you are protecting their life rather than just protecting your vehicle. However, if you use deadly force to protect an unoccupied vehicle, it will be perceived as you protecting property, and you will likely be prosecuted and convicted. So it doesn’t matter how new, how shiny, or how much you love that car in your driveway—if you see someone breaking into it, you must not defend your vehicle with deadly force. At this point, you should call the police and let the authorities handle it.
While such a situation may also justify the use of non-deadly force, such as pushing the person away from your vehicle, such a move is inadvisable, as it may escalate the situation and may still result in you being charged or sued. Your best bet is to call the authorities.
For more information about your legal rights to protect your property, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.