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Question for Alabama Lawyers..

  • bleedscrimson18

    Have a question... "If someone breaks in to my house, or if were to wake up one night and go to the kitchen to get something a drink and find someone breaking into the home, do you have the right to shoot them?"

    I know in some states this law is really "tricky" (probably in places like Maryland and California) where if the "intruder" has an escape route (standing by the front or back door) then YOU can be prosecuted for murder...

    The reason I am asking is one of my co-workers ' parents home got broken into the other night and when his dad flipped on the lamp the guy was standing in the bedroom with a mask on....

    This post was edited by bleedscrimson18 19 months ago

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  • 13A-4-25

    Use of force in defense of premises.

    (a) A person in lawful possession or control of premises, as defined in Section 13A-3-20, or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon, may use physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate what he reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person in or upon such premises.

    (b) A person may use deadly physical force under the circumstances set forth in subsection (a) of this section only:

    (1) In defense of a person, as provided in Section 13A-3-23; or

    (2) When he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent the commission of arson in the first or second degree by the trespasser.

    13A-4-23

    Use of force in defense of a person.

    (a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (4), if the person reasonably believes that another person is:

    (1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.

    (2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling.

    (3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy.

    (4) In the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is attempting to remove, or has forcefully removed, a person against his or her will from any dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle when the person has a legal right to be there, and provided that the person using the deadly physical force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring. The legal presumption that a person using deadly physical force is justified to do so pursuant to this subdivision does not apply if:

    a. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner or lessee, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;

    b. The person sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used;

    c. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or

    d. The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her official duties.

    (b) A person who is justified under subsection (a) in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has the right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a person is not justified in using physical force if:

    (1) With intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, he or she provoked the use of unlawful physical force by such other person.

    (2) He or she was the initial aggressor, except that his or her use of physical force upon another person under the circumstances is justifiable if he or she withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person his or her intent to do so, but the latter person nevertheless continues or threatens the use of unlawful physical force.

    (3) The physical force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.

    (d) A person who uses force, including deadly physical force, as justified and permitted in this section is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the force was determined to be unlawful.

    (e) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force described in subsection (a), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.

  • The bottom line is that if someone breaks into your house, shoot first and ask questions later. I know of no case in the State of Alabama in which a home occupant shot an intruder and was then prosecuted for murder, attempted murder, or assault. I'm a DDA in Alabama. I am not aware of laws outside Alabama though.

  • As a lawyer, I think that discretion is better. You may get yourself sued if you don't. What if the person is not wearing a mask or is mentally incompetent and doesn't know where he is. Or is elderly, has dementia? Just shoot the guy? Not a good idea.

    I agree, however, that the law does gives you the right to shoot. The question you should ask yourself, is whether you should shoot if the person is not armed? If he/she is armed or takes a step in the wrong direction, by all means, blast away.

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  • Just make sure they don't escape after you shoot them. If they make it outside then drag them back in. Or at least that's what my Dad always said to do. On second thought follow statutes above.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by bamamba1989 19 months ago

  • Fire away my friend. This is Alabama, maybe not the same as Texas, but youd be hard pressed to find a DA that would try to prosecute for that.

    Now if the guy breaks in and trips and falls through your glass coffee table while the lights are off, you might get sued and lose that. I mean how was he supposed to see a glass table when you so dangerously didnt keep the lights on for him. True case btw.

    Another one that pisses me off was a case from Huntsville. This man kept having kids knock his mailbox down with a baseball bat, you know like in Dazed and Confused. So after a few times he decided to reinforce his mailbox with concrete so they couldnt destroy it. Sure enough kids came back and tried it again but this time things were a lil different. He must have been hanging out the window pretty good because when he swung the mailbox didnt give and im not sure if he fell and hit the concrete mailbox or fell out of the car, but anyway he got fricked up bad. Kid got a lawyer, sued the guy and got a few million bucks. How dare the man try to make his mailbox invulnerable to piss ant kids trying to destroy his property. So excuse me lawyers, but the law is a joke sometimes and you never know what can happen in court. If they want to charge you they will find some random ass law if they have to.

    So in regards to the original question, id be freaked out about it if i shot him in the back while he was fleeing.

    This post was edited by samdog91 19 months ago

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    "We're modern-day gladiators, and that mental toughness is really important to have in a good team." Nick Saban

  • Primarily practice civil law, so take this with a grain of saw, but I believe the magic words are that you feared for your life and the lives of those in your home.

  • I can 100% assure you that if there is an unauthorized entry into my home, I'm not concerned about that guy. I'm not hesitating for a moment to inquire whether he has friendly intentions. Nor am I going to await a mental evaluation to determine if I shoot.

    I assume if one makes unauthorized entry into my home, the life of my wife and child are in danger. Of course, I've prosecuted many, many murderers, rapists, sodomites, burglars, robbers and thieves in the worst city in Alabama. I have reason to believe that.

  • bleedscrimson18

    Thanks guys... I have always heard it both ways, and I HOPE I NEVER am put in that situation, BUT if I am, I will let my Beretta 92FS do the talking.... Oh NO, shhhhh noome tell OBama I have that pistol, PLEASE!!!

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  • "Officer, I had reason to believe that my life was in danger." If someone is fool enough to break into my home... oh well. BOOM.

  • rollingtide2004

    Me and a friend were discussing this the other day. He seemed to believe one can't use deadly force unless a person is actually breaking into your house. His girlfriend's car was broke into at his house and thought he did not have the right to shoot the guy because it was outside the dwelling. I think he was wrong according to the above.

    ROLL TIDE!