Keeping Up With The Preppers

Simple and easy to understand prepping ideas that just may save your life.

Friday, March 24, 2017

DEFEND YOUR CASTLE PHYSICALLY AND LEGALLY


DEFEND YOUR CASTLE PHYSICALLY AND LEGALLY



It's impossible to ignore the increasing number of deadly encounters home owners across the country have faced over the recent years.  What's most disturbing to me is how the media and district attorneys seem to increasingly LOVE making examples out of good citizens that have the nerve to defend their homes and families. 

I hope to pass on a few tips on how to survive a home burglary or home invasion both physically and legally.

 

 

Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Laws



Most states have some sort of Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground laws currently on the books. Each state's laws differ so learn and know the laws in your state.  If you live in a state or county where the so called authorities value their criminals more than their citizens, too bad for you.  

The Castle Doctrine generally covers a person defending their lives, or the lives of a third party from imminent serious bodily injury or death.  Keep in mind in most of those states, you'd better be able to articulate WHY you felt the need to use deadly force.

Stand Your Ground laws pertain more to situations outside your home and folks with a concealed carry license anywhere a threat may present itself.  Most Stand Your Ground laws also cover the defense of a third party from serious bodily injury or death.  Again, you'd better be able to articulate WHY you felt the absolute need to use deadly force.

This article will mostly deal with the Castle Doctrine and criminal situations at your home.

***Obviously, in a total break down of society, where law enforcement is extremely thin or non-existent, all bets would be off at that point.  You'd pretty much have to defend yourself and your family since 911 won't exist***


Home Invasions Vs. Home Burglaries Vs. Other Crimes


To understand how you should respond to any given situation, you should understand there are huge differences in the different crimes homeowners experience on a daily basis such as:

·        Home Invasion
·        Burglary of a residence (Including Kidnapping, Sexual Assault)
·        Theft (Outside the home)
·        Burglary of a vehicle
·        Auto Theft
·        Criminal trespass
·        Criminal mischief

Property Crimes Outside The Home


First and foremost, you should understand that although there are what's called "Defenses to prosecution" pertaining to many states' laws, it would be best NOT to count on these to save you from being charged and convicted for causing serious bodily injury or death in any given situation.

For instance, in the state of Texas, there is a defense to prosecution for shooting someone during the commission of theft and criminal trespass during the nighttime as well as other such property crimes that occur OUTSIDE of your home.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and catch someone breaking into your vehicle and you shoot them, there may be a defense to prosecution, but I wouldn't count on that saving you from criminal and civil liability.

As angry as such situations may make you, it is best NOT to confront the suspect or suspects as it could easily escalate to a deadly force situation.  Stepping outside and yelling out them may be enough to scare them off, but keep your distance as they could easily attack you and force you into a bad situation.   If you are going to confront the suspects, do it from a position of cover in addition to keeping your distance in case they are armed.

It's best to immediately call 911 and give the best description you can and give the direction of travel of the suspect(s) if possible.  


Crimes Inside Your Home


When a criminal enters your home, only they know what they intend to do.  As a homeowner concerned about protecting yourself and your family, you must assume the worst, especially at night.  When a suspect enters your home at night, any reasonable person would assume people will be at home and thus it has to be assumed that they are prepared to encounter the homeowners. 

In my opinion, once the criminal crosses the threshold of the door or window of your home, they have made themselves fair game.  In states with castle doctrine laws, there are no requirements to flee, attempt to apprehend a suspect or even warn them before using deadly force.   Obviously, common sense and good judgment should be use.  If you have teenage children, you might want to make sure that you positively identify your target before you do something you will regret for the rest of your life.

Criminals entering a home during the daytime MAY assume that no one is at home and will flee once discovering someone is at home.  It is also quite possible that a bad guy has conducted "Pre-Operational Surveillance" and knows that a female is home alone all day.  Police and prosecutors will find it more reasonable for a female alone or with children to use deadly force.

Most burglars will knock on the front door as if they are selling something, pretending they need gas, or other assistance.  Do not open the door.  In most cases, this is a ruse to see if anyone is home and they will simply move on after discovering the home is occupied.  It's always best to call 911 if you feel something is wrong as the police may have other reports of incidents that are similar. 

If you do not let them know someone is home by calling out through the door, they may simply kick the door in right then and there or they may go around to the side or back of your home to gain entry in such a way as to not draw as much attention to their activities by neighbors.

If a suspect does not leave after discovering someone is at home and continues to attempt to get you to let them inside, do not open the door.  Keep in mind that if a suspect attempts to force entry into a home while knowing someone is home, you need to be prepared for deadly force. 


Workers In Your Home


If you're going to have workers enter your home, it is best to conceal as many valuables as possible.  Most workers won't steal something while you're standing there with them, but could very well come back when they think you're not at home.  If you have a safe that will be visible in the room they will be working, attempt to conceal it if possible even if you have to drape jackets or other items over it.


Who Are You?


Investigators and prosecutors will look at the totality of the circumstances in any use of force situation involving deadly force.  This includes the criminal's background, size, whether armed or not, as well as the homeowner's background (law enforcement, military, criminal), size, gender, social media posts, etc.

Why is all of that important?  Sadly, the homeowner will often be scrutinized more than the criminal.  Investigators and prosecutors will find it more reasonable for a lone female to shoot an intruder than they would if a military or law enforcement veteran reacts the same way in the exact same situation.

Right or wrong, these are things to consider.  It's also best to never shoot at someone fleeing, especially if they are outside of your home.  Just let them go. It's not worth it.

It's difficult to say you were in fear for your life if the bad guy was running away from you. 


Force Continuum 



Depending on the size and scope of the event, it's always best to take a page from law enforcement training that is used all across the country. Most people are not trained to use force and therefore may not be prepared for such a situation. The following are some ways to handle a situation without resorting to deadly force.


Presence and Verbal Commands



Look like you know what you're doing! Most criminals look for easy targets so if you are able to control a situation by making would-be looters or criminals feel like it's in their best interest to simply move on, that's the best case scenario for all involved.  Loud and firm verbal commands beginning with, "Show me your hands!" or "Get off of my property!" may be enough to make people move along.  The potential looter's body language and general attitude will hopefully let you know if they will comply or attack.  Presence and verbal commands are usually more impressive with some sort of weapon visible if not pointed at the looter.


Empty Hand Control



Empty hand control for anyone with no training is VERY risky and should never be attempted while alone. If you are going to go "hands on" with a potential bad guy, you should always have someone armed to "cover" you while you make contact with the subject.

Soft Empty Hand Control - Soft empty hand control basically consists of take downs, "goose neck" holds, arm bars, etc.

Hard Empty Hand Control - Hard empty control consists of strikes and kicks without the use of weapons.


Impact weapons, Stun Guns/Tasers, or Chemical Agents (Pepper Spray)



Keep in mind that all of these Non-lethal weapons are very close range with the exception of the taser.  As with empty hand control, it is imperative that you have someone with lethal cover in the event things go wrong while attempting to subdue a subject. Impact weapons (clubs), stun guns, and/or pepper spray could be taken from the user and used against them.

It may not be a bad idea to have large zip-ties to take a subject into custody as a last resort.


 Deadly Force 






Deadly force is any force used in which a reasonable person would believe could result in serious bodily injury or death.  This includes baseball bats, knives, or any other weapons that could injure or kill someone.

If you are a beginner at handling firearms, please attend firearms safety classes. Bringing a gun into a home with no training or common sense can be worse than not having one at all. I really can not stress this enough.



Castle Law in Texas
Texas Castle Law - Texas Castle Doctrine 
Defense of Habitation Law

AN ACT
Relating to the use of force or deadly force in defense of a person.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 9.01, Penal Code, is amended by adding Subdivisions (4) and (5) to read as follows:
(4) “Habitation” has the meaning assigned by Section 30.01.
(5) “Vehicle” has the meaning assigned by Section 30.01.
SECTION 2. Section 9.31, Penal Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e) and (f) to read as follows:
(a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor [he] reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor [himself] against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The actor’s belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:
(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:
(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
(C) was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
(2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
(3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.
(e) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before using force as described by this section.
(f) For purposes of Subsection (a), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (e) reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.
SECTION 3. Section 9.32, Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON. (a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:
(1) if the actor [he] would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31; and
(2) [if a reasonable person in the actor's situation would not have retreated; and
[(3)] when and to the degree the actor [he] reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to protect the actor [himself] against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or
(B) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
(b) The actor’s belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:
(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:
(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
(C) was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Subsection (a)(2)(B);
(2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
(3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used [requirement imposed by Subsection (a)(2) does not apply to an actor who uses force against a person who is at the time of the use of force committing an offense of unlawful entry in the habitation of the actor].
(c) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section.
(d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.
SECTION 4. Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY [AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE]. A [It is an affirmative defense to a civil action for damages for personal injury or death that the] defendant who uses force or[, at the time the cause of action arose, was justified in using] deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9 [Section 9.32], Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant’s [against a person who at the time of the] use of force or deadly force, as applicable [was committing an offense of unlawful entry in the habitation of the defendant].
SECTION 5. (a) Sections 9.31 and 9.32, Penal Code, as amended by this Act, apply only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act. An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for this purpose. For the purposes of this subsection, an offense is committed before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurs before the effective date.
(b) Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as amended by this Act, applies only to a cause of action that accrues on or after the effective date of this Act. An action that accrued before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect at the time the action accrued, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.

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