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What is the law when confronting a burglar???

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What is the name of your state? Ohio

What is the law when confronting a burglar??? Say he has broken in to your house and you confront him, if it were a shoot don't shoot situation, what is the law? What about if he has broken in, but is running away from you? I would assume shooting to kill would be wrong, what about to wound?... say in the leg? What about let's say he is in the process of breaking in? What about breaking in to your car? , I assume I can't shoot, but can I disable him, say with a bat or something?




Where i live the burglar can be taking every thing in my house outside. if he doesnt have a weapon or hasnt caused you any physical injury and you shoot him, you could be charged.since when does the criminal have rights? maybe i need to move:confused:


If you can articulate a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury, then you should be justified in using deadly force. But you must be able to articulate it. In my opinion, someone burglarizing my house is an immediate threat to my family's well-being...therefore deadly force is justified.

It will also depend largely upon the particulars of the situation. For instance, a small male about 5'5", 140 lbs, wanders into my home unarmed at 3 pm. I (6', 200 lbs) am home alone. Barring any other threatening actions on the other guys part, deadly force would be hard to justify.

On the other hand.......

Very large man (6'5", 300 lbs) wanders into my home unarmed at 3 am. I am home with my wife and three small children. Completely different story. I could easily articulate the need for immediate deadly force to stop the threat.

Also remember, you don't shoot to kill AND YOU NEVER SHOOT TO WOUND. You shoot to "stop the threat". It may sound like semantics now, but it may mean the difference between being justified and jailtime. We shoot center mass because that's the way we are trained. It's the easiest target, since it's the largest. If they happen to die, so be it. It is not our intention to kill.

Even more, you never shoot to wound (this bears repeating). If you shoot to wound, then you were obviously not in imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury, therefore deadly force was not justified. You will go to jail and lose everything in a civil suit.

A bat or any other weapon can be construed as a deadly weapon. Guns aren't the only weapon capable of inflicting death. If you would be justified in using the bat to "disable" him, then you would be justified in using a firearm.

Now if you are IN the car, that's one thing. But remember that as a private citizen, you have an obligation to retreat from the threat (except in your own home), and must do so if possible. Someone breaking into your car in the driveway while you are in the house represents little to no threat to you. If you exit the house and confront the POS, and it escalates, you may be held partially responsible.

Lastly, self-defense laws often vary from state to state, so it would be best to consult an attorney specializing in these types of cases in your state.


i would agree with that. i know we had a case several years back in my state where a burglar had taken things from someones home and was in the front yard leaving(unarmed). the homeowner shot him and was later charged with it.


Senior Member
How to Avoid Being Burglarized

Top 10 Ways to Stop Being Burglarized - -

NUMBER 10: Remove "Welcome" mat. Replace with "Not Welcome" mat.

NUMBER 9: Take down sign reading, "Mi Casa es Su Casa". Some people take it literally.

NUMBER 8: Asks you to hold his gun while he puts on some Chapstick. Use opportunity to clean and oil gun.

NUMBER 7: Leave dirty diapers all over house.

NUMBER 6: Put all of your belongings in storage. Live in completely empty house.

NUMBER 5: Three words: pine-scented mace.

NUMBER 4: Suggest to burglar that you were just on your way out, and could he please come back at 4:00 p.m.

NUMBER 3: Tell the burglar instead of, "You have the right to remain silent," "You have no right to look so fabulous!"

NUMBER 2: Ask burglar if he'd like his intestines sauteed and served with wine.

AND, the NUMBER ONE Way to Stop Being Burglarized - -

Have burglar move in with you !

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Senior Member
I always enjoy reading the IAAL Top Ten. Keep it up.

By the way, there are no toys anymore in Cracker Jacks like when we were kids. The last 2 boxes I bought contained cheapie stickers made in Asia.
That's no surprise inside.


Senior Member
This is just an example of what can happen. This happened in Spanaway Washington in the 1984 to 1988 time period.

A young man has a drug problem. To feed his drug problem, he has found breaking and entering into residential houses very profitable. Most of the time it is during the day as a way to prevent possible run ins with the residents. He is having a run of bad luck (burglar alarms, dogs, stay at home moms, etc.) and decides to break into the house of his mother's neighbor. They are an elderly couple and something he has learned, most older folks have lots of prescription drugs aroung the house.

Late one night he enters the house and heads for the bathroom. There he finds an assortment of prescription drugs plus a large bottle of Tylenol with codiene, legal in Canada, not in the U.S. While exiting the bathroom, he is met by the older gentleman who just happens to have a shot gun levelled at him. He drops the drugs, and attempts to back away, telling the man he is leaving with nothing. Suddenly, there is a flash and the young man's left arm is made to look like swiss cheese. He is arrested and convicted of entering without permission and is sentenced to 1 year in jail.

While incarcerated, he meets another inmate that at one time was a practicing attorney but has been disbarred. Both are released at about the same time and with the formers lawyers assistance, he sues the old couple for his injuries to his left arm. The shot gun blast destroyed most of the mans left arm tissue in the elbow area. He is left with very limited movement and the arm is now severly disfigured. The trial which lasted for 3 days was front page news in the local newspaper. The older couple even had legal assistance from the county's DA office. But the jury agreed with the young man and awards him $215,000 in damages.

Within a week of the trial ending, the older gentleman passed away and his wife was left to deal with the judgement herself. What little life insurance was available was used to pay the funeral expenses. Because she was in failing health, it was decided to give the home to the winner of the lawsuit in leiu of paying the full settlement. He accepted the house (valued at about $100,000) and sold it. He obtained drug treatment and attempted to turn his life around. My last contact with him was about 10 years ago. He admitted blowing the money on cars and gambling but he was keeping himself drugfree. He was killed a few years ago in a boating accident.

From my example above, a shooting that was considered legal in criminal court was considered excessive in civil court.

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