What do you do when an unruly party guest gets out of hand? Of course you can kick them out, but what if they won’t leave? What about someone who shows up on your property uninvited? These people are trespassers and North Carolina law protects your property rights by allowing you to decide who is and who is not allowed on your property.
ARE THEY CONSIDERED A TRESPASSER?
Let’s discuss who might become trespassers and what you can legally do to eject them. You may eject an unwanted person from your property even if they were previously an invited guest. Once you give the unruly friend or extended family member notice that they are no longer welcome and they refuse to leave, the person becomes a trespasser. You may then use force, but not deadly force to remove the individual from your property. On most occasions, this use of force will take the form of physically escorting or removing the individual.
DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS
But what about an uninvited person? Uninvited guests can range from someone completely innocent, like a neighborhood kid retrieving the ball from your yard to someone a bit more sinister, like someone sneaking around your land at night or an unknown vehicle pulling up your driveway. Even when the situation looks sinister, so long as the person is not committing or attempting to commit any offense outside of their simple trespass, you may still use only the force necessary to remove them.
Must Be Reasonable
In North Carolina, the continue of force starts with verbal commands and then continues with physical force against another and may even include displaying a firearm. However, you may not point a gun at someone unless you are in a situation where a reasonable person would believe it necessary to use deadly force to prevent imminent death or serious bodily harm. Keep it in mind that the force you use against the trespasser must be that which an ordinary and prudent man would consider reasonable.
There are situations in which drawing or pointing your firearm may be a reasonable use of force but evaluate your situation carefully. Pointing a gun at a high schooler taking a shortcut through your property or the electric company’s meter reader, may ultimately get you into legal hot water and involve charges. Further, once you pull the trigger, even as a warning shot, you have crossed the line into deadly force and may be arrested, charged, and convicted for that act.
“SO, YOU’RE TELLING ME I CAN’T SHOOT SOMEONE BREAKING INTO MY HOUSE?”
No. In North Carolina, if someone is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering your home, this person is no longer a mere trespasser and you can use the Castle Doctrine and personal protection deadly force laws. You are no longer protecting just your property but are now protecting yourself and your family. A mere trespasser can quickly become a more dangerous threat.
It is crucial that you understand the stand your ground law in NC. If you have any question about this issue, contact U.S. LawShield and asked to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
What’s the scenario for someone coming on to your property with a rifle in hand ?
That is an excellent question. Unfortunately that is a question no legal analysist of this website seems to want to answer. Rifle, handgun, baseball bat, knife, or molotov cocktail, I see someone on my property approaching my home with a weapon or anything that can be used as a weapon, I am not going to believe they just want to borrow a cup of sugar. I am going to believe they intend to do bodily harm. I will not wait until they force their way inside my home and they better have 3 things in their pocket.
1. Name and phone number of next of kin.
2. Last will and testament
3. what they want carved on their tombstone.
I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6 and no matter the outcome of that judgement, whether I end up sleeping on a cot in a 6×6 cell for the rest of my life or sleeping in my own bed, I will sleep better knowing I took out the trash and my family is safe.
What about someone climbing a tree to get onto a deck on your property? Can I assume he’s trying to break in? This happened recently and I don’t own a gun but I’m thinking of learned to shoot one and shooting at the next meth head who tries to break into my car or house.
When l first moved here, my driveway is 970 feet long goes between two properties that are not mine for at least 400 feet from road then three acres after that are mine. At about 300 feet muddy footsteps came outta the woods down my driveway stopping 20feet in front of my house behind a bush. I think they did it at night did not see there footprints left behind. Womens shoe pointed foot falls seem to be this person at 5 foot eight or nine. So seems a lil overstepped to my home. Does this fall into the territory of that person needing a limp for the rest of there life. Followed tracks back to a home nearby and spotted the lil lady doin her thing at her residence me doing the primary secondary tertiary thing. Should of l have confronted her honorably like or wait for next time to send rounds down range.
I assume people here know the continuum of force in NC. 1. Physical presence 2. Verbal ( all the way from Please leave sir to GFFO!!!!) 3. Soft hands Guide them or walk them out. 3. Hard hands Shoving, pushing all the way to grabbing the by the seat of their pants and THROWING them out) 4. Chemical Mace, OC spray etc) 5. Impact weapons Stick club axe handle whatever. and thats it you can’t use deadly force.
This how you handle trespass in NC also call they law trespass them this would be 2nd degree trespass/ If the come pack its 1st degree and its a felony.
Even though it’s perfectly legal, shooting someone would still be extremely traumatizing.
Even if they were breaking into your house
For female conceal carry holders. Is it reasonable to use deadly force against a large sized male that is assaulting her with his fists.
Yes if you do it while he’s in the act and takes place at your home job or car. Just remember it’s your burden to prove you felt like your life was in danger. If you’re being abused you should involve the police and not wait for it to happen again just so you can shoot them. I’ve seen many domestic cases where spouses use this and are still found guilty of murder
If you live in a subdivision about 2 acre apart are people allowed to shot their guns all the time everyone is pretty close to each other we are out in the country but everyone not that far apart or is there a law against it
I tell them to leave or go to jail. If they threaten my family . I will shoot that person.
So according to state law if you have a roof over including a tent it is considered a home, so if I put a tent over all my property ” a roof” then an intruder would be considered a home invasion? why is my property not considered my home, why can I not protect my back yard front yard etc the same way I can the inside of my dwelling. If that’s the case then I should have to pay home tax and property tax because on that side they consider it the same so why not in a criminal discourse.
Is there any guidance for the case of a person who enters a private business with an “open carry” firearm when there is clear signage stating firearms are prohibited? And, when asked to leave, the person refuses?
I guess I’m wondering, until the police arrives – should we also evacuate the business? Or would that be a larger threat to safety?
Katie, are you a U.S. LawShield member? This is a great question for one of our Independent Program Attorneys. Our members can call our non-emergency line at 1-877-448-6839 during business hours.
if there’s a sign then he is breaking the law. He is on private property..
This was a really interesting read, along with the comments. I will have to look at specific acreage when looking for a home.
Hunters who hunt on other peoples private land are not hunters ///?? They are cowards/terrorist >…???
If someone breaks into your house and threatens you and your family and you shoot them you’d better hope you get a conservative judge and jury because if you get a Liberal judge and/or jury then you’re likley going to be the one going to jail and you’re alos going to be paying million to the family of the criminal for taking the life of a sweet, innocent victim.
NC is now a stand your ground state, so if someone breaks into your house, you can legally shoot him, even if he dont have a weapon.
nah your wrong, this is a stand your ground state now. You can shoot anyone breaking into your house but you cant shoot them if they are your property, they must be entering your home. plus the judge isn’t the one making the decision its the jurors