It might not be a self defense claim, i dont know the law everywhere, but in Texas you have the legal right to stop the theft of your property, in this case a car. It happens all the time, just this last week in Houston a guy shot a BG who was stealing his car from his driveway.
The law in TX does allow the use of deadly force to protect retrieve property in limited situations, but it's nothing nearly so clearcut as the legal right to shoot to stop the theft of your property.
Here's the entire text of the law:
§ 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.
(b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:
(1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or
(2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the actor.
§ 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
So, all of the requirements in 9:42 AND 9:41 must be satisfied before deadly force can be used.
- Posession of the property must be lawful.
- Force (not deadly force) is immediately necessary to recover property
- Owner must be in FRESH pursuit or force must be used immediately
- Owner must reasonably believe the other had no claim (can’t shoot the repo guy) or the theft had to happen by “force, threat, or fraud against the owner”.
- Deadly force is reasonably believed to be immediately necessary to prevent:
- aggravated robbery
- theft during the nighttime
- the thief/robber/burglar from escaping with the property
- There’s no other way to protect/recover the property without exposing the owner to “substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury”.
At least one person has suggested that insurance
is a "way to protect/recover the property without exposing the owner to substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury."
And THAT's before we even get into the cost of legal representation (just because you don't go to jail doesn't mean you won't go to court) and the likelihood of civil suits.