Author Topic: Texas Castle Law with mobile trailer  (Read 196 times)

Splintery

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Texas Castle Law with mobile trailer
« on: July 11, 2017, 08:33:16 AM »
I was looking at the castle law and it does not really talk of my situation.

I am a general contractor and pull a trailer that has all my equipment in it for the job.

If someone enters my trailer and tries to steal my equipment out vehicle does this give me the right to draw my weapon and subdue the criminal or use deadly force if necessary.

If the criminal has grabbed some equipment and took off running can that escalate to deadly force?

Seems like it is a little bit of a grey area since I'm not at home or on my property.

TexasLawShield

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Re: Texas Castle Law with mobile trailer
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 03:34:11 PM »
Splintery,

If you are occupying the trailer at the time it is being broken into, or if you are being threatened with unlawful deadly force, then you would be covered by either the castle doctrine or self-defense protections.

However if the trailer is unoccupied and you arrive to the scene as the perpetrators are committing or attempting to commit the burglary it becomes a complicated question. This situation does not fall under the castle doctrine and as such we have to look at Texas Penal Code Section 9.42

Sec. 9.42.  DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY.  A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
(1)  if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41;  and
(2)  when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A)  to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime;  or
(B)  to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property;  and
(3)  he reasonably believes that:
(A)  the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means;  or
(B)  the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Part of the reason this is so complicated is because we are dealing with defense of property instead of acting in self-defense. When we look at property you must remember that there are no presumptions of reasonableness and therefore the question of whether or not you reasonably believed it was immediately necessary to use deadly force will be determined by a jury. That is a scary situation.

The next problem is that it when the statute above lists “burglary” as a crime in which you can possibly respond with deadly force, we don’t know if the statute is only referring to “burglary” (of a habitation or building) or if it includes “burglary of a motor vehicle.” If it does not include the motor vehicle, then we are dealing with a theft and deadly force is only potentially an option if the theft occurs during the nighttime. The fact that we are dealing with a trailer only furthers the complication by having to argue whether it should be considered a vehicle, a building, or a habitation.

Assuming both of these hurdles are crossed, a jury must still determine that you reasonably believed that the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means;  or the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.