Legal force to remove someone from property


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online2mch
June 23, 2006, 04:11 PM
If I want to remove someone from my property, who is not yet a threat, what are my legal options? I realize many areas will be different, but in general do I need to escalate from verbal to physical (non-lethal). If someone refuses to leave can I then "lay hands on him and encourage him to leave" using minimum force necessary?

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orangelo
June 23, 2006, 04:15 PM
Call the police and tell them the person will not leave and ask them to come arrest him for criminal trespass.

There really isn't anything you can do unless they get physical and try to force his way through a door/window. Then I guess it's open season.

WT
June 23, 2006, 04:29 PM
If he is merely trespassing on your front lawn, call the cops and let them handle it.

In my state I have a legal requirement to retreat if such a thing were to occur on my front lawn.

Firethorn
June 23, 2006, 04:54 PM
I'm not a lawyer and jurisdictions/situations vary.

The safe bet is to inform them that they're no longer welcome on your property and that they are to leave immediately. If they don't comply, call the cops. Calling the cops first is a valid option if you feel that he or she may become a threat. The police have far more options than you, and, perhaps more importantly, calling them documents the situation.

Use of physical force can open you up on assault charges unless you have a valid reason to believe that they're going to cause you harm. Even touching them could lead to assault charges, as well as opening you up to potential attack by them. That's why I recommend letting the police do it. That way they take the risk, you can't be charged with assault or sued for injuries to include 'mental trauma' if you let the police handle it. The police are trained for it and can throw him in jail overnight/charge him with trespassing for that extra bit of deterence.

Bar bouncers might 'lay hands' but then again, bars and bouncers to occasionally get sued because of it, and there's been more than one successful suit because of it. They generally get away with it because the person does something threatening, so extra action is called for to remove the threat from the rest of the patrons.

I'd recommend that you maintain a firm but calm demeanor.

ArmedBear
June 23, 2006, 05:26 PM
If they're not a threat, your best option is to inform them that they need to leave, and call the cops.

The police (might) actually show up in a reasonable amount of time if you tell them the person is on your property right now.

Step inside, have a weapon ready (if you believe the person could turn into a real threat). Wait for the police.

If trespasser does turn into a threat, and breaks into your house, you then (in my state) can use deadly force in self-defense. But simple trespassing is not justification (in my state) for shooting at them, or even touching them, if they're not posing a threat to you, just because you don't want to bother waiting for the police.

Restraining orders, etc. can change the equasion, but only because they indicate that the person DOES pose a threat.

In Kennesaw, Georgia, though, I think you can shoot at them if they just look at your garage door suspiciously.:D

atlctyslkr
June 23, 2006, 05:43 PM
In Kennesaw, Georgia, though, I think you can shoot at them if they just look at your garage door suspiciously.

Not quite! But you can stand your ground on or after July 1.

Local Governments are not allowed to deviate from state law in Georgia. It works both ways though. It is not the wild wild west up there.

Drysdale
June 23, 2006, 06:35 PM
In Texas, if they've spent the night, you have to give them a 30 day eviction notice, served by the Sheriff.

Biker
June 23, 2006, 06:39 PM
Here in Idaho, we can pretty much knock 'em out in a case like this. Just gotta be smart about it.

Biker

Hawkmoon
June 23, 2006, 07:11 PM
If I want to remove someone from my property, who is not yet a threat, what are my legal options? I realize many areas will be different, but in general do I need to escalate from verbal to physical (non-lethal). If someone refuses to leave can I then "lay hands on him and encourage him to leave" using minimum force necessary?
You answered your own question, in the second sentence of your post. There is no "in general" about it. Some jurisdictions allow you to use "necessary" force, others do not.

Read the law covering your jurisdiction and then, when you can't decipher the legal-speak in which it's written, consult an attorney.

Lupinus
June 23, 2006, 08:01 PM
Well, the short answer is you can't remove them by force yourself. In some states you are allowed to shoot someone to protect property but it isn't considered ethical by most to shoot someone for sitting on your front lawn or taking your TV. As far as grabbing them and throwing them into the street that varies greatly.

I would tell them to get off my property, if they persisted I'd grab the camcorder turn it on set it in the window and repeat the order, if they again refused I'd call the police and if the person is still there when the police arrive have them arrested for trespassing. If the person left in the mean time I'd hand them the tape as proof of their trespass. Depending on the area the tape may or may not be enough for them to arrest the trespasser and to prosecute. If they were destroying my property or starting to get violent the gloves are off and I'm releasing the hounds lol

lamazza
June 23, 2006, 09:32 PM
The important first step is to make it clear that they are not welcome and ask them to leave.

Hawkmoon
June 23, 2006, 11:46 PM
Well, the short answer is you can't remove them by force yourself. In some states you are allowed to shoot someone to protect property but it isn't considered ethical by most to shoot someone for sitting on your front lawn or taking your TV. As far as grabbing them and throwing them into the street that varies greatly.
I disagree. In fact, I believe it is only one state -- Texas -- that allows the use of deadly force to protect property, and that's only at night. But that's just fine-tuning. Where I really differ is the statement that I highlighted when I quoted you. I think that most of us here recognize that it's not legal and probably not very smart to shoot someone for taking your TV, but I suspect there's an awful lot of us who don't have any ethical problem with that. I certainly don't.

Lupinus
June 24, 2006, 12:04 AM
all I said was most hawk, I never said most here ;) And as far as protecting property goes it depends just how it is being damaged. If it is say....about to be set on fire, that is arson and far as I know you can use deadly force to stop that. I did try to keep it non-specific as I don't know specific laws in specific laws and certianly not the specifics of all those laws.

shooter94
June 24, 2006, 12:55 AM
In southern California, when the Police arive...the first thing they will ask you is where are your "No Tresspass" signs.

Dont know about the laws in your State...but it seems like a good idea.

Reyn
June 24, 2006, 05:58 AM
In Alabama a person who has lawful possession or control of premises may use physical force upon another person when he believes it neccesary to prevent or terminate what he reasonably believes to be the commiission or attempted commission of criminal trespass.

TallPine
June 24, 2006, 02:21 PM
The police (might) actually show up in a reasonable amount of time if you tell them the person is on your property right now.

Yeah, like maybe within a day or two where I live .... :rolleyes:


I've wrestled with this same question because of:
1) relatives who are sexual offenders (but don't know where we live - so far)
2) felons that sometimes still buzz around like flies around our ex-neighbor's place (I almost pulled on gun on them about 6 months ago)

Most of my neighbors would say: "well, just call so-and-so ... he has a backhoe" ;)

Art Eatman
June 24, 2006, 02:37 PM
If you go beyond verbal orders to leave and calling the cops if they don't leave, be sure you have witnesses.

If you're alone and you have to deal with more than one trespasser, it's them against one in the story-telling department--and they will lie. Given the state of our criminal justice system and our civil law system, your best bet is to retreat, get a weapon, and wait and watch.

Example: A guy I know planned a picnic on his farm, back by a riverbank. He took tables and chairs to the site. He came back with more "stuff" and discovered five trespasser-guys in the process of stealing the chairs. He took out his shotgun to defend his property. They approached, telling him he wouldn't shoot, and threatening to beat him (his side of the story). He shot. Killed the ringleader.

The sheriff investigated. The would-be thieves claimed the shot was without any provocation, that they were just walking along the riverbank, not stealing. The word of four trespassers against one land-owner. The final result was jail time for my buddy.

Caution; common sense; knowledge of the laws of your area, not mine or somebody else's.

Art

CletusFudd
June 24, 2006, 03:16 PM
"I disagree. In fact, I believe it is only one state -- Texas -- that allows the use of deadly force to protect property, and that's only at night."

Colorado?

Hawkmoon
June 24, 2006, 04:24 PM
"I disagree. In fact, I believe it is only one state -- Texas -- that allows the use of deadly force to protect property, and that's only at night."

Colorado?
The fact that I said "I believe ..." suggests that I do not claim infallible knowledge. However, if you believe Colorado allows the use of deadly force to defend property, perhaps you could provide the relevent section of the Colorado statutes to support the statement.

BigFatKen
June 24, 2006, 05:05 PM
discovered five trespasser-guys in the process of stealing the chairs.

I wonder what would have happened if your friend had a five shot shotgun and used it. 1-0 still wins

evan price
June 26, 2006, 02:41 AM
I believe that in some states you are required to put up "POSTED NO TRESPASSING" signs that act as legal warning that people ARE trespassing and can be cited or arrested, otherwise they are just warned and escorted away.

sacp81170a
June 26, 2006, 05:30 AM
In Arkansas you must inform the other party that they are not welcome on your property and this has the same effect as a "No Trespassing" sign. It then becomes criminal trespass:

5-39-203. Criminal trespass.

(a) A person commits criminal trespass if he or she purposely enters or remains unlawfully in or upon:
(1) A vehicle; or

(2) The premises of another person.

(b) Criminal trespass is a:

(1) Class B misdemeanor if the vehicle or premises involved is an occupiable structure; or

(2) Class C misdemeanor if otherwise committed.

Physical force:

5-2-608. Use of physical force in defense of premises.

(a) A person in lawful possession or control of premises or a vehicle is justified in using nondeadly physical force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes the use of nondeadly physical force is necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person in or upon the premises or vehicle.
(b) A person may use deadly physical force under the circumstances set forth in subsection (a) of this section if:

(1) Use of deadly physical force is authorized by 5-2-607; or

(2) The person reasonably believes the use of deadly physical force is necessary to prevent the commission of arson or burglary by a trespasser.

Again, as others have advised, it's best to call the police, but you are allowed to use force to eject someone from your property after they have been told to leave.

DunedinDragon
June 26, 2006, 08:09 AM
A lot depends on whether or not they reside on the property or not.

If they don't reside there you may have the option (like we do in Florida) of having the cops issue a Trespass Warning, which basically tells the person they will be arrested if they come onto your property. Aside from that you can seek an order of protection to keep them away from you.

If they do reside there it's a different situation because you have to be in a position in which you can seek to evict them...such as being the legal home owner and they are a tenent.

HankB
June 26, 2006, 09:10 AM
If the person is simply "on my property" - say, my front lawn - and reluctant to leave, my first inclination will be to turn on my sprinkler system.

Of course, given what temperatures are right now in central TX, he might like it.

So of course, I'll call the police and have them deal with it. I'm in a relatively small town outside Austin, TX, and the local LEOs might enjoy a respite from issuing traffic tickets and writing up vehicle/deer collisions, which are their main passtimes. I'd expect a prompt response, probably from multiple officers.

If "on my property" means "in any part of my dwelling," well, with very few exceptions the person will be regarded as a real and immediate threat, and dealt with accordingly.

SteveS
June 26, 2006, 09:31 AM
As many have mnetioned, you should check with your state's laws to be sure, but in most states, you may use non-lethal force toremove a trespasser from your property.

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