When can a homeowner use deadly force?

Posted at 7:54 AM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 07:54:33-05

In New York State, a homeowner has the right to use deadly force if they reasonably believe someone is committing a burglary or attempting to commit a burglary.

Local attorney Florina Altshiler tells 7 Eyewitness News that if a person is inside your home, you can use deadly force to terminate the burglary. But if a person is not yet inside your home, you don't have the right to use deadly force.

According to the law, there needs to be evidence that in addition to the person being there and trespassing, there was intent they were about to commit a crime on the premises.

"It's a question of fact as to what that other person did," said Altshiler. "How much of a step did he take toward entering your home?"

Altshiler says a homeowner cannot use deadly force to prevent or terminate a trespass.

"If the person is out on your front lawn, they're nowhere near your house, they're out on the grass, you don't really know whether they're about to commit a burglary or if they're just simply trespassing on your front lawn. You cannot use deadly force to prevent or terminate a trespass."




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