Colorado Night Terrors: Defending Against Criminal Mischief

The following is a video transcript.

Doug Richards from U.S. LawShield of Colorado, coming to you from our beautiful Denver office. I want to talk to you today about the upcoming Halloween holiday and what you should do or what you can do if you find somebody vandalizing your property, because “Trick or Treat” is the saying.

If you end up with some tricksters or some pranksters in your front yard or on your property and they’re vandalizing, you should know that in Colorado, you may not use deadly force if you’re only protecting property, personal property. You may, however, use deadly force if the person who’s vandalizing your personal property or private property does something to make you fear for your own safety or someone else’s safety. Just their vandalism in and of itself is not enough for you to use our self-defense statutes deadly force. They would have to be doing something in addition that causes you or somebody else around you to fear for their life and their safety.

Let’s put this into motion. Let’s just assume it’s Halloween, and some kids come in and come up to your property and kick in your pumpkin and you come outside onto your property, on your deck, and you point a firearm at them or you fire it in the air, or do something like that. If those are the facts, you’re going to go to jail. If, however, because of the amount of people involved, and their height or size or the apparent weight, or the way that they were dressed, and they had masks, and they had apparent weapons, and you thought that they were going to turn those weapons on you or things that they were saying to you, if any of these things occur, you start to end up in a situation where you can use self-defense because now you’re defending yourself or a third party, not the personal property.

All of this underscores the need for you to immediately ask for an attorney and not try to do any of this talking on your own because you’re much more likely to talk yourself out of one of our self-defense statutes than being able to talk your way into it.

Best thing you can do if you’re in a situation where the police are asking questions about your use of deadly force is to politely ask for an attorney, and we discuss what to do in that situation in other videos.

Finally, if you’re thinking that the castle doctrine is going to protect you against any situation that happens on your property, you would be wrong. The Castle Doctrine only provides immunity in a situation where there is something that happens inside of your house, not outside of your house, like on your front lawn or on your deck. Obviously, the Castle Doctrine, and we’ve discussed this in other videos, it’s extremely fact-specific. So, again, if you’re in a situation where you think that the Castle Doctrine might apply, don’t try to explain that to a police officer. Let me do that for you.

As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else, feel free to call me at my office. Thank you.

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