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Old September 28, 2009, 09:20 PM   #1
SQUAREKNOT
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Is your garage part of you home?

A question came up tonight. If a BG invades your home and you have a legal right to use deadly force to defend you home. Is your attached garage considered (legally) your home? Or is it a separate place legally?
Personally I consider anyone that illegally and forceably enters my home a deadly threat and that includes the garage.
Anyone?
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Old September 28, 2009, 09:22 PM   #2
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In Texas it is (even if detached) as is your vehicle. Check your state laws.
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Old September 28, 2009, 10:42 PM   #3
SQUAREKNOT
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There is no precedence as the Castle law just came into being and the new
law does not have a real definition.
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Old September 28, 2009, 11:30 PM   #4
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"Is your attached garage considered (legally) your home?"

I vote for yes and would be interested in hearing arguments, especially those supported by case law, to the contrary.
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Old September 28, 2009, 11:40 PM   #5
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I'd consider (despite any law) any part of my property as a part of my "home" as long as it's on the same premises. And PHYSICALLY attached to my dwelling... You can bet Your last meal that I'll be considering it my home and acting accordingly.

I've had some folks tell me that I'm a little "Gung-Ho", but I oppose that. Some/Most (not sure which) states consider Your vehicle an extension of Your home. I'll protect both/all as such... Even more when there's wife and/or kids present or involved.

Always, check Your local laws for the details. I've went as far as to go to the Sheriff's Office myself and speak to Sheriff's directly concerning what's legal or not. I believe that most Law Enforcement honor a citizen inquiring of the laws.
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Old September 29, 2009, 10:52 AM   #6
Bartholomew Roberts
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Nobody can answer this question without knowing what state you reside in since the answer to you question depends on state law. Second, I guarantee there is relevant precedent on the issue.

Texas law protects a "habitation" as defined by Section 30.01 of the Penal Code. Whether a detached garage would qualify would depend on whether the garage was appurtenant to the habitation. Texas courts have construed this definition of a habitation to include both attached and detached garages in past cases; but it would still depend on the specific facts.
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Old September 29, 2009, 11:03 AM   #7
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My property is my property.
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Old September 29, 2009, 11:12 AM   #8
dogtown tom
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Of course an attached garage is part of your house. While some may not count the square footage of a garage as "living space" it most definitely is part of your house.

I've never seen a house for sale that had in it's description "the attached garage is not part of this house".
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Old September 29, 2009, 12:25 PM   #9
maestro pistolero
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A threat is a threat whether at the grocery store or your shower. Possession may be unconstitutionally infringed, but so far, legitimate self defense hasn't.

Therein lies the quandry: The government supports self-defense, but sometimes contends that denying the right to the means to it is acceptable.

Last edited by maestro pistolero; September 29, 2009 at 07:43 PM.
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Old September 29, 2009, 01:22 PM   #10
orangello
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Maybe that recent case with the sword-wielding college kid who had to hack a lurker/attacker in his garage will provide some more guidance.
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Old September 29, 2009, 01:50 PM   #11
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Oklahoma's "make my day law" was written after six elderly OK citizens were killed over Christmas. The case that drove the law home was that of a doctor who shot a home invader in his garage. The doctor got sued and the legislature wrote the law.


http://www.oksenate.gov/news/Nationa...m20041031.html

Quote:
"Over that Christmas, we had six people in their 70s and 80s killed, bludgeoned to death by burglars in their bedrooms. How were they meant to defend themselves if they could not legally resort to lethal force?" he said.

Giving householders immunity from criminal and civil action was also inspired by Dr Sommer's experience. Although he was taken to the police station and interrogated, the District Attorney read the public mood over the series of deadly burglaries and decided against charging him with the killing of the burglar, Russell Bryant, 19.

..................................

"The purpose of the law is to protect the victim of crime who defends his home and his family against unlawful intrusion from any criminal prosecution or civil action," Sen Ford said last week.

"We considered it outrageous that someone who protects his home and family should suffer. Our law says you can use any force, including deadly force, to defend your home."

It has been an unqualified success. Since the Make My Day Law came into force, burglary has declined by almost half in Oklahoma. In 1987, there were 58,333 cases; in 2000, just 31,661.

While crime rates throughout America fell in the 1990s, Make My Day supporters point to a second statistic in Oklahoma they say proves the impact of the new law: while burglary rates plunged, other forms of theft stayed constant. In 1988, there were 96,418 cases, in 2000, 96,111.


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Old September 29, 2009, 01:57 PM   #12
Bartholomew Roberts
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Just to clarify, typically you need to show three things of your attacker to justify the use of lethal force in self-defense:

1. Ability to inflict death or serious bodily injury (Ex: Possess a knife)
2. Opportunity to inflict death or serious bdily injury (Ex: close enough to stab you with the knife, not 200yds away)
3. Intent to inflict death or serious bodily injury (demonstrated by actions or words)

Many states have laws that say that someone unlawfully breaking into your home is enough to create a presumption of reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury. That means the State will presume you had a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury (justifying the use of deadly force in self defense) in that situation unless the evidence shows otherwise.

Technically speaking, this isn't the "Castle Doctrine" in the sense of the recent law reforms pushed by the NRA; but it is a closely intertwined concept and the original poster's question relates to this in the sense that you need to know what your state considers your "Home."

This doesn't mean you can't claim self-defense successfully outside the home. It just means you will not be able to rely on that particular law to create the presumption that lethal force was justified. So you'll have to go the longer route of showing that your attacker did meet the elements discussed above instead of just showing your attacker was unlawfully in your home.

Clear as mud?
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Old September 29, 2009, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Clear as mud?
Actually you have made an excellent point.

If the factors are present that would justify the use of deadly force, then it would not matter if you are in your living room, garage, or in front of the 7-11.
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Old September 29, 2009, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
There is no precedence as the Castle law just came into being and the new law does not have a real definition.
Square, I would think the definition would not be there.

First, what state are you in. The answer to your question depends on where you are located.

Second, look up how your state defines "domicile" or "residence". Likely it will be included in the curtilage.

Third, there may be "case law", decisions by your state's court of appeals or Supreme Court, as to how your state defines this matter.
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Old September 29, 2009, 03:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Maybe that recent case with the sword-wielding college kid who had to hack a lurker/attacker in his garage will provide some more guidance.
Wasn't that in Maryland?
A 'duty to retreat state'?
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Old September 29, 2009, 03:58 PM   #16
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My house, my barn, my garage, my shop, if its on my property and I paid for the roof and everything under its its part of my home. I'd worry about legalities later but an intruder has to be presumed to have evil intentions and I have family to worry about.
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Old September 29, 2009, 04:14 PM   #17
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Here in Tennessee just have to meet the 3 criteria as laid out above by Barth Roberts irregardless of in house, garage, back yard, or as stated in front of the 7-11.
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Old September 29, 2009, 04:26 PM   #18
SQUAREKNOT
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what state are you in?

I'm in North Dakota. Some good points were made here. I will try find the definition for home and it may be spelled out in the actual we got passed last year.
The amount of crime here is really heating up but you never hear about it in the news or papers as the mayor thinks it might hurt the city's reputation as safe.
One friend has two cops as neighbors and they both are just waiting for one of the bad guys to get shot by a homeowner. They figure crime will drop fast after that.
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Old September 29, 2009, 04:30 PM   #19
dondavis3
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"In Texas it is (even if detached) as is your vehicle. Check your state laws. "

Yeah for Texas.
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Old September 29, 2009, 04:42 PM   #20
Glenn E. Meyer
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That's because so many wives throw us out into the garage!
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Old September 29, 2009, 04:43 PM   #21
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The washer and dryer are in the attached garage, thus it is also a "laundry room" . In our case, no doubt.

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Old September 29, 2009, 06:17 PM   #22
raftman
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I believe here (in Oregon), an attached garage is included as part of a dwelling, but a detached one would not.

I personally wouldn't react in the "If they're on my property, they're liable to get shot" way. I have an attached garage, as well as a detached shed. If I observe that someone's in the shed, they're not gonna get much more than a disused bicycle, a lawnmower, or various tools. In which case, I will arm myself in the event that the intruder does seek access to the house itself, call the police, and stay prepared in the event that the intruder ends up attempting to break in. If they're in the garage however, then they already HAVE accessed the house, then I would consider them an immediate threat.
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Old September 29, 2009, 08:49 PM   #23
SQUAREKNOT
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The law refers to the "dwelling" I did not have time to check further but in any case-dwelling to me at least would include an attached garage.
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Old September 29, 2009, 09:00 PM   #24
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Posters here have no problem with the question. Too bad courts have to have 9iscussion about weather yes/no.
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Old September 30, 2009, 08:46 AM   #25
Bartholomew Roberts
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The various self-defense laws for North Dakota appear to be in Chapter 12.1-05 of the North Dakota Criminal Code.

I notice also that North Dakota still has a duty to retreat if you are not within a "dwelling." However, it appears that while Section 39-01-01 defines the types of motor vehicles that are afforded the same protection as a dwelling, there doesn't appear to be an actual definition of "dwelling" in North Dakota statutes. So for you, the question is doubly important since not only do you not get the "shortcut" discussed above if you aren't in a dwelling, you also have a duty to retreat if you can safely do so and aren't in a "dwelling."

I would look at the burglarly statutes and burglarly cases for North Dakota. Often, in other states, those statutes use the same definition of a "dwelling" and there is a lot of case law over whether or not breaking into a particular building was breaking into a "dwelling" for sentencing purposes. That might help you find an answer to your question.
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