The following is a video transcript.
You hear a noise, look outside, and see someone breaking into your car in your driveway. Can you shoot them? Should you call 911? What should you do? What are the laws of defending your property when a thief is breaking into your car in your driveway?
Use of Force
Oklahoma law is clear about protecting your personal property, such as your car, from thieves when it is on your land. You can only use reasonable force to protect your property. You cannot use deadly force against the thief who is breaking into your car in your driveway. The amount of force must be the least amount of physical force that will accomplish the task of scaring off the thief.
Here are some alternative suggestions: Turn on the outside lights, shine a high-powered flashlight on the thief, or call 911. The thief will be long gone by the time the cops get there, but calling 911 may result in the police catching the suspect. Last but not least, start yelling at the thief that you called the police and that they are on the way.
Before getting into a fight with a thief, be aware that thieves run in packs, and there may be more than one suspect acting as a lookout or getaway driver. They may shoot you for interfering with their task, so be careful. Many people have been shot or stabbed while trying to apprehend a car thief or boat burglar. You cannot grab your gun and shoot the car burglar until he or she comes after you with deadly force, like a pipe, gun, or knife.
The official policy of Oklahoma jurisprudence is that you cannot use deadly force to protect your property, unless your occupied home or occupied automobile is being attacked by an arsonist or intruder. Best policy? Call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.
For more information about your legal rights to protect your property, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.