Generally, people go to pretty far lengths to protect their property, in one particularly famous case a man used a gun attached to a contraption that made the gun fire if the window was opened.  But what about barbed wire, attack dogs or glass shards on top of walls?  Courts have generally broken down these devices into whether the weapon is mechanical or not.  In the case of non-deadly mechanical devices, most courts have ruled that you must post some type of warning (generally a sign).

Is A Warning Enough For Home Defense?

You are allowed to defend your home, even with deadly force, but for items like barbed wire on top of a wall, there are other types of rules.  First, you should probably post some type of warning of the existence of the barbed wire.  This usually means a sign or some other form of warning.  However, some courts have allowed a home owner to avoid the warning requirement if the existence or use of the device is so common in the area that it is reasonable to assume an intruder is aware that it may be present.  For example, if every house in a 300 house community has a barbed wire fence, then the court may determine that the home owner does not need to post a warning.

Finally, just because someone has posted a warning on their home about potential dangers, they may still be liable for injuries.  Yes, even an intruder who was trying to break into your house may be able to sue you if they are injured because of your mechanical device.  This rule is subject to several exceptions, but the general rule is that if the home owner intends to hurt someone, they may be liable.  Additionally, the owner is privileged to use dangerous devices if he would be privileged to use a similar degree of force if he were present and acting himself.

Do you think this is fair?  Should people be able to defend their home using whatever means?

 

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