It's that time of the year when brazen thieves will come up on your property and take your packages in hopes of a big score.
We are all getting more and more by mail these days. It's rare to see an empty porch anywhere. That's what makes some neighborhoods "hot" for thieves; a lot of packages that they can stack up quickly.
Like any homeowner, you may hear the bell ring or your doorbell camera go off, but you're a little too busy to run to the door immediately and grab whatever it is that was delivered. So what happens if you hear your camera *plink* another time and you notice that someone is trying to take your packages? Can you use lethal force on them?
The answer is: probably not. Let's look at a little Texas Penal Code:
Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
I know it may seem a little callous to ask the question to begin with, but let's look at a scenario: You hear someone rustling on your porch. You notice it's someone who looks like they might be a bit violent. You tell them to drop the packages. So you pull your piece and say, "Drop the packages, now!", and they keep walking away with your stuff.
Now that we've set the stage, a lot of factors come into play. The penal code above clearly says "at nighttime" it's somewhat allowable. It also seems to matter WHAT is being stolen. If it's a box of socks, you could be charged with murder, if it's your grandma's heart medicine, you might get away with it (you would have a sliver of hope).
It would be terrible if you were defending your property and then had to defend yourself in court because you shot somebody; the lawyer fees, even if you get away with it, would probably suck you dry. It's probably best that you just get your packages as soon as they are delivered and eliminate any thought of using deadly force to protect them.
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