Posted on June 4, 2019 in Defense Strategies
We own guns for many reasons. Hunting; Sport; and maybe most importantly, defending ourselves and our property. So what happens if someone is trying to steal my car? Can I shoot them?
The answer, unfortunately, as is oftentimes the case, is maybe, depending on the circumstances. Read on to learn more and if you have any further questions, speak with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney.
Ordinarily, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-408, you are justified in using physical force against another person “when and to the extent that a reasonable person would believe it necessary to prevent what a reasonable person would believe is an attempt or commission by the other person of theft or criminal damage involving tangible movable property under his possession or control, but such person may use deadly physical force under these circumstances as provided in sections 13-405, 13-406 and 13-411.” What that means is that under most circumstances, if someone is trying to steal your car, you may not shoot them as that constitutes deadly physical force.
If the thief is using or attempting to use unlawful deadly physical force against you, you may use deadly force “when and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect” yourself. This is pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-405.
Likewise under the same circumstances, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-406, you may be justified in using deadly physical force against the thief if his use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force is against another person.
Finally, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-411, you would be justified in using deadly physical force against the thief to the extent that a reasonable person believed it to be immediately necessary to prevent the commission of certain crimes, such as burglary in the first degree (unlawfully entering or remaining within your car with the intent of committing a theft therein while knowingly possessing a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument). So, if the thief is breaking into your car while armed and committing or trying to commit a theft from the car, you may be justified in shooting him, assuming a reasonable person would believe it was necessary to prevent the commission of the crime.
As you can see, each of these exceptions are highly fact specific, and require you to meet with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to discuss the best ways to raise them to protect yourself if you’re accused of unlawfully shooting someone breaking into your car. The attorneys at AZ Defenders are knowledgeable and experienced in using every defense possible to help you if you are being accused of exercising your right to protect yourself and shooting a thief or an intruder.