Legal Dictionary

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Defense of Property

Defense of property is a justification defense that can be used in defending one's property from theft, destruction, or trespass where the defendant has a reasonable belief that the property is in immediate danger. Only reasonable non-deadly force can be used in defending one's property. Deadly force (a violent action known to create a substantial risk of serious bodily harm or death) may never be used to defend property.

However, by virtue of other defenses (self-defense, defense of others), deadly force may be used where unlawful interference with property is accompanied by a threat of deadly force or where the defender reasonably believes an entry will be made or attempted in his dwelling by someone intending to commit a felony therein. See also, Self Defense, Defense of Others.