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Can I Shoot Someone Trespassing on My Property?

Posted on May 19, 2023 in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerThe state of Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States, which has led to a common misconception that it is legal to shoot someone for trespassing on your property. However, the reality is much more complex, and the answer to whether you can shoot someone for trespassing in Texas is far from a simple yes or no. If you shot someone on your property, you may be facing serious legal exposure depending on the circumstances of the case. If you are in this situation, contact a criminal defense attorney to protect yourself and your rights.

What Does Texas Law Say, and What is the Castle Doctrine?

Under Texas law, a person is justified in using force to protect themselves or their property from someone who is unlawfully trying to enter or has entered their home, vehicle, or place of business. This is known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which applies only in certain situations. For example, if someone breaks into your home and you fear for your safety or the safety of others in the home, you may be justified in using deadly force to defend yourself. Similarly, if someone tries to rob you at gunpoint in your store or restaurant, you may be justified in using deadly force to protect your life and property.

However, the Castle Doctrine does not apply in all situations and is far from a license to shoot someone for simply trespassing on your property. For example, deadly force will likely be unjustified if someone is on your property without your permission but is not threatening you or your property. Instead, Texas law allows property owners to use reasonable force to remove a trespasser from their property, but only if the force is not intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. In other words, you may be able to push or shove a trespasser off your property, but you cannot shoot them unless you have a legitimate fear for your safety or the safety of others.

It is also important to note that the Castle Doctrine and the use of force to protect property are subject to interpretation by law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges. If you use deadly force to defend yourself or your property, you may still face criminal charges and civil liability if your actions are determined to be excessive or unjustified.

Contact a Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorney

For an attorney with an exceptional reputation in the legal community, contact the skilled Katy, Texas, criminal defense lawyer with The Hatton Law Firm PLLC. Call 713-840-6344 for a free consultation.


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