Can You Shoot Someone Breaking Into Your Car?
The following is a transcript:
Welcome Members and Fellow Gun Owners. In the last Member’s Voice video, our member Tyler witnessed a criminal breaking into his car.
Tyler drew his gun, and the bad guys ran away.
The legal questions started pouring in, and Members, you wanted to know your legal rights in your state. So here’s your U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor to give you insight on what the law says.
Burglary of a Motor Vehicle in Texas
U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor, Walker & Taylor Law Firm, Houston:
Today, we’re going to talk about what you can do if someone is breaking into your vehicle while you’re at your house. Well, first of all, what is this crime even called? It’s called burglary of a motor vehicle.
Burglary of Habitation in Texas
Now, that’s what makes this discussion interesting, because as you may already know, you can have the right to respond with deadly force when someone is committing a burglary against your property. The problem here is that the statute only reads burglary, and there are multiple different kinds of burglary in the State of Texas.
Things like burglary of the habitation, burglary of a building, burglary of a coin-operated machine, and, of course, our topic today, burglary of a motor vehicle. Because the statute doesn’t specify which kind of burglary you can respond to with deadly force, we’re kind of at a loss legally.
The problem here is that there’s no controlling case law that says that you are allowed to use deadly force against a burglar who’s breaking into your car. I know you’re probably thinking I’ve seen it on the news. I’ve heard anecdotes about people who shoot at someone who’s burglarizing their car and that shooter doesn’t get arrested. Nothing terrible happens to them; they’re allowed to go on about their lives.
I’ve heard those anecdotes, too; the problem is that because we don’t have case law that controls if you use deadly force against someone who’s burglarizing your vehicle, you could be put in the position of being the test case for whether or not that behavior is allowed under Texas law.