The Law Office of Kurt H King

April 30, 2010

Missouri Homeowner Fires at Intruder

Filed under: Litigation,Uncategorized — kurthking @ 5:30 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

A Missouri homeowner home at night with his wife,  points a gun through the door glass at the perceived intruder’s head, who then sped away while chased by a few warning shots by the homeowner.  No criminal charges were reportedly filed against the homeowner.

Is it legal or criminal to shoot a person trying to break into your home?  How do we know the person is not injured, afoot after a car problem or wreck,  or involved in some emergency situation?  What if the intruder is breaking in to use a phone to save a life or call 911 for an ambulance?  May we shoot because we think we are in danger?  How sure do we have to be first?  Each case turns on its own facts which is tough because the homeowner rarely has to time to call a lawyer or get a court decision to be sure before using force in defense.

Missouri law treats defense of property differently from defense of public or personDeadly force may be legally used in self defense of one’s person or the public under certain circumstances.  But, Missouri law does not excuse the use of  deadly force to defend one’s property.    So, we face prosecution for serious crimes if we use deadly force to protect mere property.  Only reasonable physical force is permitted to protect property from theft, damage or tampering.  See Missouri Statutes Chapter 563 for detail–particularly 563.026 and 563.041 regarding deadly versus physical force.

Remember too that even if criminal charges are not filed against you, the person injured or killed by your deadly or physical force (self defense of person or property) may sue for major money damages in a civil (not criminal) court case.  In other words, you may not go to jail, but you may be broke financially.

Kurt H. King
Law Office of Kurt H. King
20 E. Franklin
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

Bankruptcy, Child Custody and Support, Divorce and Modification, Family Law
Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation

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