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Can you go to jail for shooting someone if you catch them breaking into your car in your own driveway?

For months now, there have been over 30 car robberies in my home town and surrounding areas. Recently I was the latest victim of a shattered back window and a stolen purse. My fiance has had his car broken into twice as well. The police have no idea who is doing this but it has become almost a nightly event. This is very unusual for my town as it is pretty small and crime-free. Many of us have decided since the police can't seem to figure out a way to catch them, we should try ourselves. So if we witness someone breaking into our car one night, can we shoot them (not to kill but to disable to the point of getting away) can we go to jail?


Asked by Ash9724 at 11:52 PM on Aug. 30, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 21 (11,107 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • Depends... You CAN shoot someone breaking into your car, it is called the Castle doctrine.... Each state differs on how Castle Doctrine can be used, and is required before deadly force can be used. SOME states include any place legally occupied, in this case one's car.
    Certain conditions must be met before a person can legally use the Castle Doctrine in some states. Check with your state.
    Just Google Castle Doctrine, Make My Day law, or Stand Your Ground Law and your state and you should be able to find the details for yourself.

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 1:51 AM on Aug. 31, 2010

  • Depending on the state or local laws yes. If you're in one of the few places that there isn't a law you'd be breaking the thief can sue you and has a chance of winning the lawsuit because you injured him.

    The law really sucks that way.

    Answer by SolaraDarkset at 11:56 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • I know in Texas it is ok but anywhere else I'm not sure,,,however if you shoot out a knee then it looks like there is no intent to kill, KWIM? therefor it is just self defense...

    Answer by wheresthewayout at 11:56 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • umm.... YES. you'll have to be a bit more creative than just shooting them. put cameras out, hide in the bushes, etc. if you are in the car and they are armed, that is self defense.

    Answer by pat7879 at 11:56 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • Check out your state & city laws.


    Answer by Natesmom507 at 11:56 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • I don't know where you live. In Texas you have the freedom to shoot someone if they are braking into your home. I do not know if it covers your car. I would call your local Police department for the full laws for your area. I would also not leave anything in your car that thieves would take. I also do not leave anything in the car that has my home address on it so if the car is stolen at the mall, the thiefs cannot help themselves to my home, as well. Good luck.


    Answer by Joeygoat at 11:57 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • Depends on the laws. In most southern states, a vehicle is an extension of one's home, making it ok.. But some states have different laws..

    Answer by xxlilmomma09 at 11:59 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • It depends, but yes, it's happened

    Answer by lovinangels at 12:00 AM on Aug. 31, 2010

  • not if it is self defense or in the aid of defending someone in most states....but that's why they created base ball bats

    Answer by HTMommy at 12:13 AM on Aug. 31, 2010

  • Typically you have the right to defend your home from inturders. In defending your home deadly force is acceptable. For someone coming into your home, courts see using your gun to protect your home and family as reasonable. If there is someone breaking into your car, using a gun to shoot them may not be considered reasonable. Calling the police is the way to go. Having your car broken into can be frustrating but with car insurance to pay for any damages or lost property paid by homeowners insurance shooting someone may not be warranted. Especially when the person breaking into your car shows no signs of attacking you or your family. Threats to family member or yourself are reasons to defend yourself. Having your car broken into and shooting the person is not something courts wil let slide without criminal culpability.

    Answer by lawmom27 at 12:38 AM on Aug. 31, 2010