The following is a video transcript.
What do you do when an unruly party guest gets out of hand? Of course you can kick them out, but what if they won’t leave? What about someone who shows up on your property uninvited? These people are trespassers and Missouri law protects your property rights by allowing you to decide who is and who is not allowed on your property.
Let’s discuss who might become trespassers and what you can do to legally eject them.
Who Is A Trespasser?
You may eject an unwanted person from your property, even if they were previously an invited guest. Once you give the unruly friend or extended family member notice that they are no longer welcome and they refuse to leave, this person becomes a trespasser. You may then use reasonable force, but not deadly force, to remove the individual from your property. On most occasions, this use of force will take the form of physically escorting or removing the individual. However, it may be most appropriate to call the police first.
Be Safe And Call The Police
What about an uninvited person? Uninvited guests can range from someone completely innocent, like a kid retrieving his ball from your yard, to someone who is a bit more sinister like someone sneaking around your land at night or an unknown vehicle pulling up on your driveway. Even when the situation looks sinister, so long as the person is not committing or attempting to commit any offense outside of their simple trespass, you may still only use reasonable force to remove them.
Keep in mind that the force you use against the trespasser must be that which an ordinary and prudent person would consider reasonable. In many situations it simply involves calling the police. There are situations in which drawing or pointing your firearm may be a reasonable use of force, but I advise that you never draw or point your firearm unless you need to use deadly force, which means that there must be an imminent threat of deadly force against you.
When Trespassing Turns Dangerous
If someone is breaking into your home and you must use deadly force, there will be a presumption in Missouri that your actions were justified. You’re no longer protecting just your property; you’re now protecting yourself or your family. A mere trespasser can quickly become a more dangerous threat, so it’s crucial you understand the laws in your state.
If you have any questions about this issue, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.