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Thread: need some clarification on a possible home invasion scenario

  1. #1
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    need some clarification on a possible home invasion scenario

    ok hypothetical story, ...you are at home, bad guy tries to kick in your door. he gets in after 2 kicks, you have a gun and a bat. 1 scenario is you shoot him in his legs, call the cops to come get him. what will happen to the shooter? 2 scenario, you club him in his knees, he goes down, you call the cops, what will happen to the bat owner? and 3 scenario.. you just shoot him dead, call the cops, what will happen to the shooter?

    reason i am asking about this is i have a person telling me that shooting someone dead even in seif defense is worse than just maiming them and calling the cops, and that you wont goto jail. i have told them you never shoot unless you are prepared to kill and that if you shoot to maim, you could get in worse trouble than just killing them. who's right here?

  2. #2
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snazuolu View Post
    ok hypothetical story, ...you are at home, bad guy tries to kick in your door. he gets in after 2 kicks, you have a gun and a bat. 1 scenario is you shoot him in his legs, call the cops to come get him. what will happen to the shooter? 2 scenario, you club him in his knees, he goes down, you call the cops, what will happen to the bat owner? and 3 scenario.. you just shoot him dead, call the cops, what will happen to the shooter?

    reason i am asking about this is i have a person telling me that shooting someone dead even in seif defense is worse than just maiming them and calling the cops, and that you wont goto jail. i have told them you never shoot unless you are prepared to kill and that if you shoot to maim, you could get in worse trouble than just killing them. who's right here?
    It's an old argument and a stupid one and one that's always made by someone that's never been in a gunfight or any other extreme situation.

    You don't shoot someone unless it's necessary and you shoot them where they're biggest and pray you hit them. If he dies, he dies. If he lives, he lives. Either way, the fight is stopped.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snazuolu View Post
    ok hypothetical story, ...you are at home, bad guy tries to kick in your door. he gets in after 2 kicks, you have a gun and a bat. 1 scenario is you shoot him in his legs, call the cops to come get him. what will happen to the shooter? 2 scenario, you club him in his knees, he goes down, you call the cops, what will happen to the bat owner? and 3 scenario.. you just shoot him dead, call the cops, what will happen to the shooter?

    reason i am asking about this is i have a person telling me that shooting someone dead even in seif defense is worse than just maiming them and calling the cops, and that you wont goto jail. i have told them you never shoot unless you are prepared to kill and that if you shoot to maim, you could get in worse trouble than just killing them. who's right here?
    Every situation is different. I am not an attorney and don't give legal advice. If you are looking to decide what YOU should do, you should consult an attorney. If a guy is kicking in MY door, I call 911 or press my 911 Voice Alarm and I am connected. I may yell to the kicker that I have a gun and if he comes in, he will be shot.. (also being recorded by 911). Now it depends on what happens next.. If he actually kicks in the door and he is armed, I take him out.. If he kicks in my door see's I am armed and turns around a runs away I will give the police a great description. I have never had the situation happen to me but I have trained for it, in my mind, in class and in scenario houses. I don't ever aim to just wound. Good Luck.
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    The OPers questions indicate he needs education on self-defense lethal force law in VA.

    For him and any others who may benefit, there is a great reference source here:

    http://www.virginia1774.org/Page5.html

    I also recommend reading the rest of the site. Obviously the founder of the site has put a lot of time into it, and done the rest of us a great service.

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    I was at a neighborhood watch meeting one night and a LEO was doing a Q&A after his speech discussing what to do if someone was breaking in and you had a gun. One lady asked what if you just shoot to wound him. The LEO's immediate response was "Lady, sell your gun and don't worry about it". He followed up with you never shoot to wound, you always shoot to stop the threat and if you are just going to try and wound someone such as in the first scenario that you shouldn't be carrying a gun. You will probably get it taken from you and used on you. If you are trying to decide whether to shoot in the knees or vital area then you are better off with the baseball bat. Plain and simple. You shoot to stop the threat or you run.

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    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    The cop's answer is non-responsive. Her question was which is better, shoot to wound or shoot to kill and still allow her to live at home. (i.e. not go to jail)

    It depends on the location, the age of the perp, the actions of the perp, the time of day, the size of the victim, age of the victim, whim of the prosecutor and the LEOs who come to the scene, and if the perp is 'connected' (like the Mayor's son).

    Mayor's son, you'll get your CPL confiscated, he'll go free, being a 'good boy' who is 'cleaning up his act'.

    HTH

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PT111 View Post
    I was at a neighborhood watch meeting one night and a LEO was doing a Q&A after his speech discussing what to do if someone was breaking in and you had a gun. One lady asked what if you just shoot to wound him. The LEO's immediate response was "Lady, sell your gun and don't worry about it". He followed up with you never shoot to wound, you always shoot to stop the threat and if you are just going to try and wound someone such as in the first scenario that you shouldn't be carrying a gun. You will probably get it taken from you and used on you. If you are trying to decide whether to shoot in the knees or vital area then you are better off with the baseball bat. Plain and simple. You shoot to stop the threat or you run.
    after talking to our local police chief, he would say that you need do nothing because they are there to protect you . the good answer is
    "you shoot to stop the threat" and center mass is the most effective. to the original question. here in NC you are allowed to shoot through the door at the first kick, but if they get in you use deadly force only if they are committing a felony . oh , and if you think they are going to rape you.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova View Post
    someone who kicks your door in is likely assumed to have hostile intentions.
    Or was drunk, forgot their key, thought they were kicking in their own door (cuz they are a carpenter by trade and were gonna fix it later) and were either cold or really had to pee. This is where "time of day" comes into play as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by user from OCDO on Time of Day
    The issue presented is whether or not the intruder is a
    burglar. You're entitled to presume that he is, if it's night-time, since
    the definition of burglary is the breaking and entering into the dwelling
    place of another in the night-time with the intention of committing a
    felony. It's the intent to commit the felony that you're presuming if you
    wake up at one o'clock a.m. with a stranger hovering over your bed. The use
    of deadly force is excusable in stopping a serious felony in progress or
    stopping one from imminently being committed. The "serious" felonies are
    rape, robbery, murder, burglary, and arson. Obvious, as each of these
    involves a potential threat to life and limb of innocent persons. If the
    intruder comes in during the daytime, he's a trespasser, not a burglar. He
    may be guilty of statutory breaking and entering, but that's not burglary.
    So you can't use deadly force unless you reasonably apprehend the threat of
    an imminent serious bodily injury. You may use such force as is reasonably
    necessary to expel the trespasser, including deadly force if the level of
    resistence requires it (e.g., he starts waving his machete in your
    direction).
    Carry On.

    Ed

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova View Post
    That said, someone who kicks your door in is likely assumed to have hostile intentions.
    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    Or was drunk, forgot their key, thought they were kicking in their own door (cuz they are a carpenter by trade and were gonna fix it later) and were either cold or really had to pee. This is where "time of day" comes into play as well.
    If someone kicks in your door I think that you can assume that they have hostile intentions no matter what their actual intentions are. It would be bad if it were a drunk at the wrong house whether during the day or night but if you are inside you have no way of knowing their intentions without them informing you. If they are kicking down your door, not announcing who they are and their purpose for kicking down the door then you should assume that they have hostile intentions. Lest say your wife is home alone. You come home too drunk to put the key in the lock and start kicking down the door (unfortunately not an unusual situation). She says who is it and you start cussing. Unless she can recognize your voice and is not afraid to let you in, you are and abusive husband, she can assume that you have hostile intentions. Lots of scenarios but if you are on one side of a closed door with someone kicking it in on the other side then you really only have one choice.

  10. #10
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PT111 View Post
    I was at a neighborhood watch meeting one night and a LEO was doing a Q&A after his speech discussing what to do if someone was breaking in and you had a gun. One lady asked what if you just shoot to wound him. The LEO's immediate response was "Lady, sell your gun and don't worry about it". He followed up with you never shoot to wound, you always shoot to stop the threat and if you are just going to try and wound someone such as in the first scenario that you shouldn't be carrying a gun. You will probably get it taken from you and used on you. If you are trying to decide whether to shoot in the knees or vital area then you are better off with the baseball bat. Plain and simple. You shoot to stop the threat or you run.
    This.

    It is unusual to hear an LEO convey this information in such an honest and realistic fashion. Good for him and those folks present when he said this. Many times, I have entered into conversations with people who have entertained the same idea. They watch too much TV or see too many movies... enough that they actually believe they could deliver a wounding shot to someone's leg or shoulder or hand and that would be the end of it.

    Good for the officer.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger Johnson View Post
    The cop's answer is non-responsive. Her question was which is better, shoot to wound or shoot to kill and still allow her to live at home. (i.e. not go to jail)

    It depends on the location, the age of the perp, the actions of the perp, the time of day, the size of the victim, age of the victim, whim of the prosecutor and the LEOs who come to the scene, and if the perp is 'connected' (like the Mayor's son).

    Mayor's son, you'll get your CPL confiscated, he'll go free, being a 'good boy' who is 'cleaning up his act'.

    HTH
    There is only one thing this depends upon and that is whether or not you feel yourself and/or your family to be in imminent danger of serious bodily harm. In some states the mere fact that someone is violently trying to break into your home is reason enough to use deadly force. The officer gave a salient answer to the lady's question and an valid recommendation to her as well.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  12. #12
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova View Post
    Use of lethal force is use of lethal force regardless of whether they die or not. You better be sure you're justified before pulling the trigger. That said, someone who kicks your door in is likely assumed to have hostile intentions.
    Absolutely correct. There are certainly not doing this to sell Girl Scout cookies.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  13. #13
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    Or was drunk, forgot their key, thought they were kicking in their own door (cuz they are a carpenter by trade and were gonna fix it later) and were either cold or really had to pee. This is where "time of day" comes into play as well.
    "Originally Posted by user from OCDO on Time of Day
    The issue presented is whether or not the intruder is a
    burglar. You're entitled to presume that he is, if it's night-time, since
    the definition of burglary is the breaking and entering into the dwelling
    place of another in the night-time with the intention of committing a
    felony. It's the intent to commit the felony that you're presuming if you
    wake up at one o'clock a.m. with a stranger hovering over your bed. The use
    of deadly force is excusable in stopping a serious felony in progress or
    stopping one from imminently being committed. The "serious" felonies are
    rape, robbery, murder, burglary, and arson. Obvious, as each of these
    involves a potential threat to life and limb of innocent persons. If the
    intruder comes in during the daytime, he's a trespasser, not a burglar. He
    may be guilty of statutory breaking and entering, but that's not burglary.
    So you can't use deadly force unless you reasonably apprehend the threat of
    an imminent serious bodily injury. You may use such force as is reasonably
    necessary to expel the trespasser, including deadly force if the level of
    resistence requires it (e.g., he starts waving his machete in your
    direction)."


    Having attended several of user's seminars, this definition always raised some eyebrows in the class and every time I have told this to someone, I could tell a few didn't believe me. In user's classes, there were always further questions and his resulting explanations about this legal concept.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  14. #14
    Regular Member USNA69's Avatar
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    My Plan ... Not for Everyone

    My home has three stories, the third being a finished attic at the top of a stairway and with a locking door. At night, I am typically on the second floor.

    I have resolved that I will not kill an intruder to save property. Property is insured and can be replaced.

    If I determine that an intruder has entered my home, I will grab my cell phone, DVR, and handgun and retreat up to the attic room, where I have prepositioned other weapons. (I cannot go down to escape outside, lest I risk encountering the intruder.) I will call 911 to report a home invasion and tell the dispatcher that I am hunkered down in the attic and well armed. I expect that the dispatcher will remain on the line with me and record the events. Certainly, my DVR will be recording.

    If the intruder gets as far as a third floor attic door, I can pretty much eliminate the possibility of an innocent drunk at the wrong house and can reasonably assume that I am in danger for my life or of serious bodily harm. If that door is breached ... well, you can figure it out from here.

    This plan works for me, because of the design of my home and my living circumstances. Clearly, it will not work for many. However, the idea of a "panic room" deep inside a home and stocked with "defensive equipment" and a cell phone can buy time for LE to arrive. If you have to fire a weapon, you probably have better justification for doing so than you would by firing through your front door.
    Last edited by USNA69; 02-13-2011 at 10:33 AM. Reason: clarification

  15. #15
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    Shoot to stop the threat!
    and
    One side of the story is better than two sides of the story in court!

    When he broke through my door he "must have grabbed my BUG I keep by the door" so I shot till the threat was no more.




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    We do NOT advocate breaking the law in any way.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocDaddy View Post
    Shoot to stop the threat!
    and
    One side of the story is better than two sides of the story in court!

    When he broke through my door he "must have grabbed my BUG I keep by the door" so I shot till the threat was no more.
    This is the kind of loose talk that gives law-abiding firearms owners a bad name, and more ammunition for the banners/haters. Purposely refusing to tell the truth, and purposely lying, as well as suggesting that evidence should be tampered with or "created" are just the sorts of things THEY think we do all the time.

    Thanks a whole heaping lot for making things just that much harder for everybody else.

    stay safe.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    This is the kind of loose talk that gives law-abiding firearms owners a bad name, and more ammunition for the banners/haters. Purposely refusing to tell the truth, and purposely lying, as well as suggesting that evidence should be tampered with or "created" are just the sorts of things THEY think we do all the time.

    Thanks a whole heaping lot for making things just that much harder for everybody else.

    stay safe.
    +1

    And, the "one side of the story" comment implies shooting to kill, rather than shooting to stop. Bad. I know of no self-defense statute or case law that authorizes killing the attacker beyond the defensive stop in order to prevent the attacker's version of the story.

  18. #18
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    Hahaha! Thanks for the good laugh over my morning cup of coffee. I am glad I am not high strung and can see the smiley face in my comment. The smiley face was inserted because I was being silly and no way serious and there is a lot of silliness on here and you guys donít chastise them. Going back to enjoy my coffee now. Have a good day!

    Happy carrying!

  19. #19
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocDaddy View Post
    Hahaha! Thanks for the good laugh over my morning cup of coffee. I am glad I am not high strung and can see the smiley face in my comment. The smiley face was inserted because I was being silly and no way serious and there is a lot of silliness on here and you guys donít chastise them. Going back to enjoy my coffee now. Have a good day!

    Happy carrying!
    You might want to consider adding a "jk" to your smiley face. All too often the big grin signifies mere glee/joy as opposed to "being silly".

    And unfortunately the folks who will take your comment and use it as another example of the bloodlust of firearms owners will completely ignore your smiley face and "jk" if you had used it and your follow-up comments. Which is why my response was, admittedly, fairly knee-jerk. (Heck, if they can be knee-jerk about trying to control me, I can be just as knee-jerk about not giving them free ammunition.)

    One of the great things about the Virginia sub-forum is that we are all in this together, and will not only tolerate but encourage a certain level of silliness amongst ourselves. We also, as I have learned to my great gratitude, that we will all come together when the need arises. It's not just that we are law-abiding, but that we work to present ourselves to the public as not tolerating violating the law - especially when it comes to firearms.

    Sorry your feelings got hurt by my rant. Hope you now understand why I went off.

    stay safe.

  20. #20
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    Skid,
    Nah, my feelings didn't get hurt, I am too relaxed of a person to worry about stuff like that. I know we are all adults here and when most people see the smiley they understand what that means, but I do see the point that "kids" (other people with an agenda) can take stuff out of context and run it into the ground.

    Happy Carrying!

  21. #21
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    As mentioned earlier in the thread, the OP should consult VIRGINIA law and other VIRGINIA sources like http://www.virginia1774.org/

    It would be nice if those not from VIRGINIA and those unfamiliar with our laws refrained from showing their ( ) * ( ) and their ignorance of "our ways". Just because your state (province, commonwealth, republic or whatever) does it one way, doesn't mean "That's how we do it here..." We happen to enjoy certain RIGHTS and FREEDOMS not available to other parts of the country and world.

    Remember to use cites where quoting case law and just because it may be case law in your part of the world, doesn't mean it works in Virginia. Keep in mind Skidmark's situation. Some places are "just different". Fortunately, the rest of the state isn't as corrupt as Surry County. York County has an ELECTED Sheriff that is active in the TEA Party and strongly supports OCDO at public events all over the state.

    It would behoove many of you from other parts of the country to study your roots. I often wonder how many of you "out-of-staters" know what happened here in 1607. We've had our share of interesting Statesmen. Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington weren't just "Virginia Farmers" like you probably learned in your 'history' books.

    Thank you for playing!
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    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
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    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
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  22. #22
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USNA69 View Post
    My home has three stories, the third being a finished attic at the top of a stairway and with a locking door. At night, I am typically on the second floor.

    I have resolved that I will not kill an intruder to save property. Property is insured and can be replaced.
    Though this 'plan' has a lot of merit, I think it has flaws.

    First, a good home SD plan, imo, involves 'layered' defense. That means:
    1. Gated entrance - either gated community, or gated driveway with additional detection, perimeter alarms, or video surveillance;
    2. Outdoor motion detector lighting;
    3. Video monitoring at the front door;
    4. Alarms with automatic alerting of authorities;
    5. Locked doors and windows (how often do we forget to lock the door!?);
    6. Dog;
    7. Access to non-lethal methods in addition to carrying a HG on your person;
    8. Dedicated concealed HG throughout the house, with easy access if you know where the HG is;
    9. Safe room, or some place with bullet resistant walls;
    10. DVR/Recorder and Cell phone;
    11. Trained up family members;
    12. Living in a safe area.

    Now we can't all have ALL of these, but since it's likely that one or more layers will fail for one reason or another, they won't all fail at the same time. In your plan you don't mention alarms or substantial door locks or anything else - you may have them so forgive my jumping to conclusions.

    Note the new element of adding a non-lethal option. IMO, if you have that you can 'handle' a large number of scenarios that are dangerous but not life-threatening. I think it would be totally permissible if you walked out of your bedroom one morning with your keys and wallet with a pepper spray module in your hand, encountered a strange teenager in a hoodie in your living room holding your DVD player, no obvious weaponry, and sprayed the hell out of him, no questions asked. No jail time, no nothing. With a HG, if you drew on him you could still get your gun confiscated and be arrested (all he has to do is lie).

    $.02

    PS, your plan also doesn't take into account family members - it can be problematic to gather them up and get them upstairs also. Note I'm not criticizing your plan, just talking about Home SD plans in general using your post as a jumping off point.
    Last edited by Badger Johnson; 02-15-2011 at 10:44 AM.

  23. #23
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    my local PD told me the rule of thumb is if someone breaks into your house you give a warning and if they continue into the house you fire until you stop the attack. You tell the jury you were terrified, which you are of course and thats pretty much it. Now of course this is a day time scenario im assuming and of course if its night time this is my opinion of what should be done.


    deadly force in the home in virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by user from OCDO on Time of Day
    The issue presented is whether or not the intruder is a
    burglar. You're entitled to presume that he is, if it's night-time, since
    the definition of burglary is the breaking and entering into the dwelling
    place of another in the night-time with the intention of committing a
    felony. It's the intent to commit the felony that you're presuming if you
    wake up at one o'clock a.m. with a stranger hovering over your bed. The use
    of deadly force is excusable in stopping a serious felony in progress or
    stopping one from imminently being committed. The "serious" felonies are
    rape, robbery, murder, burglary, and arson. Obvious, as each of these
    involves a potential threat to life and limb of innocent persons. If the
    intruder comes in during the daytime, he's a trespasser, not a burglar. He
    may be guilty of statutory breaking and entering, but that's not burglary.
    So you can't use deadly force unless you reasonably apprehend the threat of
    an imminent serious bodily injury. You may use such force as is reasonably
    necessary to expel the trespasser, including deadly force if the level of
    resistence requires it (e.g., he starts waving his machete in your
    direction).

  24. #24
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    [QUOTE=opencarrypalmtrees;1659703]my local PD told me the rule of thumb is if someone breaks into your house you give a warning and if they continue into the house you fire until you stop the attack. You tell the jury you were terrified, which you are of course and thats pretty much it. Now of course this is a day time scenario im assuming and of course if its night time this is my opinion of what should be done.
    QUOTE]

    I do believe following this advice could result in prison time for you. You cannot use lethal force on an intruder in the day time unless you have a reasonable belief of imminent serious bodily injury. So if the intruder is inside, you give a verbal warning, he continues towards you but is thirty feet away and appears unarmed, you may very well not have a reasonable belief of serious bodily injury depending on all circumstances. You shoot in such a scenario you may be facing serious jail time. I think it is very important to carefully think about such scenarios ahead of time and how to handle them. Reading Virginia caselaw can help alot, and asking questions to one such as User can really help.

    I do believe the standard is what a reasonable person would believe in the situation, so telling a jury you were terrified will not help if a prosecutor can show such a belief was not reasonable. Now if the intruder is close and advancing after verbal warning, different sitauation, lethal force likely now more reasonable. The problem is you will not have time to think things through, and the potetial consequences of making the wrong choice are huge.
    Last edited by Jonesy; 12-02-2011 at 12:55 AM.

  25. #25
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    One aspect of the explanation that SouthernBoy alluded to is the fact that there is a statutory definition of daytime burglary in Virginia. However, there is no case law that I know of that applies the presumption that a burglar at night is at least willing to kill the defenseless sleeping occupants and thus is an automatic candidate for the use of deadly force to daytime burglary. My opinion is that in the daytime, you're still entitled to assume that an intruder intends to commit a felony, but until a court rules on the subject, I'd still say that the use of deadly force is limited by what's reasonable under the circumstances. Note that Virginia's common law definition of the "castle doctrine" allows defense of the home and the curtilage (area immediately surrounding the home in which people are likely to be); that still doesn't grant a "license to kill".

    So here's my conclusion: if you reasonably believe, based on objective fact, that defense of self, family, and home requires the use of deadly force, use deadly force to full effect. Otherwise, be ready, willing, and able, but if you recognize that the intruder is a little kid, the Alzheimer's patient from across the street, or even someone who entered with evil intent, but is leaving as fast as he can after having seen your gun, you can't shoot'em. This "shoot to maim" idea is nuts. As so many have already said, you either shoot or you don't shoot; "shooting to maim" is likely to get you convicted of attempted murder.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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