Today's topic can be a sticky discussion for some. How far can you go to protect what is yours? For some, its a simple answer, I can go to whatever lengths to protect my property. For others, they don't want to take matters into their own hands and let the police handle the situation. Either way, there are legal stipulations to handling the defending of your property whether it's your plot of land, your home or even your vehicle when it's parked in your driveway. Let's take a look at whether it is legal or not to shoot a trespasser in Texas.

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It Not Exactly Cut and Dry Whether You Can Shoot a Trespasser or Not

What do I mean by that? Well, you simply can't shoot someone just because they came onto your property. Just as a simple example, we've all turned into someone's driveway just to back up and turn around. You can't shoot someone for doing this because they entered your property without you knowing. If you do this, you can and will be arrested and face whatever charges are levied against you.

So when is it legal to shoot someone who trespasses on my property?

You can legally use deadly force against someone who comes onto your property if you believe that person has the intent to commit a crime against you, your family or your property. For example, if you see someone come onto your property and attempt to break into your vehicle, you can use deadly force on that person. Other examples of it being legal to use deadly force against a trespasser are:

  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Theft at Night
  • Criminal Mischief at Night

Where else can deadly force be used?

You can use deadly force if you find and try to recover property that has been taken from you that is on someone else's property. You can also use deadly force if you've been asked by someone to protect their piece of property.

You Can't Do This

You cannot set up "booby traps" that have the potential to cause serious bodily harm or death to protect, say, your property line.

Need to be Smart About it

All of this can be very subjective but as long as you use sound judgement and don't (pun intended) jump the gun, you can use deadly force to protect yourself, your family and your property.

Texas Penal Code, Chapter 9, Subchapter D

SUBCHAPTER D. PROTECTION OF PROPERTY

Sec. 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.

(b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:

(1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or

(2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.
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.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.
Sec. 9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY. A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or property and:

(1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible, movable property; or

(2) the actor reasonably believes that:

(A) the third person has requested his protection of the land or property;

(B) he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property; or

(C) the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly force to protect is the actor's spouse, parent, or child, resides with the actor, or is under the actor's care.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.
Sec. 9.44. USE OF DEVICE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. The justification afforded by Sections 9.41 and 9.43 applies to the use of a device to protect land or tangible, movable property if:

(1) the device is not designed to cause, or known by the actor to create a substantial risk of causing, death or serious bodily injury; and

(2) use of the device is reasonable under all the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be when he installs the device.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 913, ch. 342, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

@tx_lawyer #question from @tx_lawyer Can you shoot a trespasser in Texas? #2a #firearms #lawyersoftiktok #home #homedefense #homeprotection #themoreyouknow #nra #gunrights #texaslaw #deadlyforce ♬ The Sopranos - Woke Up This Morning - Main Theme - Geek Music

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