Can You Shoot a Thief? | Oklahoma

I’d like to talk to you today about defending your property.

Deadly Force VS. Non-Deadly Force

If you are in your occupied home and it is under attack by an intruder (that is a burglary) you can defend yourself with deadly force. If you’re in an occupied car and there’s a carjacking involved, i.e. someone approaches you with a gun or knife and says that they want you out of the car, they want to take your car by force, you can use deadly force to protect yourself.

But, say that you interrupt someone who is running out of your house with your color TV set. That is a theft and you cannot use deadly force to stop a simple theft.

If someone is running off with an old truck of yours or if someone is driving off in your tractor or any of your gardening implements, you cannot use deadly force to stop them. That doesn’t mean you can’t use reasonable force, but you cannot use deadly force.


Now then, what about a trespasser? Trespass means someone is on your property without your permission and you can use reasonable force to stop them.

If you have questions about this or other matters, do not hesitate to call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.

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