Jump to content

What does IL law say about the use of deadly force to protect one's property, such as a parked vehicle?


vito
 Share

Recommended Posts

I read the statutes and it still is not clear to me whether or not a person would be justified in using force, or deadly force, to protect their own property. As I read it, such force is lawful if needed to prevent a forcible felony. Does this mean that if I heard someone trying to break into and steal my car in the middle of the night, that I could confront such a thief and if he fails to stop the attempt, use force to keep him from completing the theft? The same for hearing and then seeing someone who broke into my garage or storage shed or similar structure, about to carry off some of my property? If I confront such a thief with gun in hand, am I going to likely be in trouble if that thief just decides to walk away? If he fails to stop in his attempted theft and I shoot him to stop the theft, how likely is it that I will be in deep trouble? I know that if a person can make a convincing argument that when stopping a thief the situation became one where the homeowner had a reasonable fear for his or her life or well being, then deadly force is legitimate, but my question revolves around defense of property when there is no direct theft of personal harm. I am not looking for definitive legal advice here, just the opinions and thoughts of those who may have dealt with such issues and are more personally knowledgeable than I am on the subject. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a cut and paste:

 

 

Though not mentioned in the statute, Illinois case law indicates there is no duty to retreat before using defensive force, as long as the person using the force is in a place where he or she had the legal right to be and is not committing a crime. There are several key words in this statute that need to be addressed. The first and probably most important is “person.” This is extremely important when it comes to using deadly force. I cannot stress enough that the concept of justifiable use of deadly force covers defending yourself or another and not your possessions. There is a misconception by many that you can use deadly force to protect your belongings. This idea is not true, no matter how valuable or precious your property is to you.

The next key words are “himself or another.” It is legal in certain circumstances to use force, even deadly force, to defend another individual who is the victim of unlawful force. That other person need not be a loved one or friend; he or she could be a complete stranger. I have also put emphasis on the word “imminent.” “Imminent” means the unlawful use of force against you or another is either occurring or is immediately about to occur.

The second paragraph of the statute starts with “however” and distinguishes between the right of an individual to use force and “force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm.” Deadly force can only be used if the threat is imminent and to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another.

The law in Illinois also allows an individual to use deadly force when it is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. Forcible felonies include murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, or any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

When You are NOT Justified

If the forcible felony has already occurred, then use of deadly force is not justified.

A lot of people are under the false belief that you can use deadly force in order to stop a person who has committed a forcible felony from fleeing the scene of the crime. For example, if you are walking down the street with your briefcase in hand, and someone forcefully snatches your briefcase from your grip and is running away, you cannot then shoot that person. Why? Because at the time you shot the person, the forcible felony of robbery was over.

Justifiable use of force in Illinois relies heavily on whether the individual had a reasonable belief at the time force or deadly force was used. Every situation is different, and every situation has its own individual facts which must be considered as a whole.

You have an absolute right to defend yourself in Illinois, but it is extremely important to understand the law and how it protects you and your family. Be diligent in keeping up with all the laws pertaining to self-defense by attending one of our informative seminars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if I come upon a thief stealing my car, and when I yell freeze he starts to reach under his shirt, I would likely believe my life is in imminent danger and have to use my firearm. If he raises his hands and backs away, providing no threat or potential threat to me, and starts to walk away, I am legally helpless to do much to detain him unless I chose to try to do so without the use of deadly force coming into play. Not likely that I, as a man of 78 with my share of physical limitations, would try to physically grapple with the thief, so I guess I would have to let him walk on his merry way. I would then call the police who would tell me to come in the next day and file a report at the police station, after which they will do nothing to apprehend the thief. Pitiful situation we have found ourselves in. The car is the modern equivalent of the horse of yesteryear, and many places treated stealing a horse as a capital offense. The good old days. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(720 ILCS 5/7-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 7-1)

Sec. 7-1. Use of force in defense of person.

(a)  A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.

(720 ILCS 5/7-2) (from Ch. 38, par. 7-2)

Sec. 7-2. Use of force in defense of dwelling.

(a)  A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's unlawful entry into or attack upon a dwelling. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if:

(1)  The entry is made or attempted in a violent, riotous, or tumultuous manner, and he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent an assault upon, or offer of personal violence to, him or another then in the dwelling, or

(2)  He reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the dwelling.

 

(720 ILCS 5/7-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 7-3)

Sec. 7-3. Use of force in defense of other property

(a)  A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(b)  In no case shall any act involving the use of force justified under this Section give rise to any claim or liability brought by or on behalf of any person acting within the definition of "aggressor" set forth in Section 7-4 of this Article, or the estate, spouse, or other family member of such a person, against the person or estate of the person using such justified force, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct. (Source: P.A. 93-832, eff. 7-28-04.)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could keep a burner phone in your car with one of those location tracking apps. If it was stolen, you could give the police the location in real time, like that LoJack device used to. 

 

Valuable items that are difficult and expensive to replace. Especially if it’s how you earn a living. That would be a tough situation to be in, coming across someone carrying your stuff in the street. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/24/2021 at 8:17 PM, Fuddly said:

You could keep a burner phone in your car with one of those location tracking apps. If it was stolen, you could give the police the location in real time, like that LoJack device used to. 

 

Valuable items that are difficult and expensive to replace. Especially if it’s how you earn a living. That would be a tough situation to be in, coming across someone carrying your stuff in the street. 

 

Depends where you are.  Police in Chicago won't come even if you have eyes on the stolen car.  They don't bother to come and stop the crime in progress, and only take a report over the phone.  (This happened to a friend many years ago.  I imagine it's even worse now.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sec. 7-3. Use of force in defense of other property

 

(a)  A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

 

Letter of the law and interpretation of the law by courts disagrees, and say deadly force is not acceptable in these circumstances.  In effect, the courts have changed the law. Let the criminal have your 4k tv or car. People don't equate a human life with a piece of personal property. I tell my students to only use deadly force to avoid imminent and otherwise UNAVOIDABLE danger, death or great bodily harm to yourself or someone else. Just be a good witness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...