Can You Shoot An Intruder In Virginia

In Virginia, the use of deadly force against an intruder is governed by the state’s self-defense laws. These laws generally allow a person to use deadly force in self-defense if they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed.

Virginia Code § 18.2-50 states:

“*A person is justified in the use of deadly force in self-defense against another person if and only if:

  • The person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect himself or herself against death, serious bodily harm, or bodily harm that would constitute a felony;
    The person is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is not an aggressor or participant in the chain of events that gave rise to the situation requiring the use of deadly force;
    The person has exhausted all other reasonable means to escape the situation, including retreat; and
    The use of deadly force is not grossly disproportionate to the threat posed by the other person.

These conditions must be met for the use of deadly force to be considered justified:

  • The person using deadly force must reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed.
  • There must be no other reasonable way to escape the situation, such as by retreating.
  • The use of deadly force must be proportional to the threat posed by the intruder.

If a person uses deadly force against an intruder, they may be charged with a crime, even if they believe that their actions were justified. A jury will ultimately decide whether the person’s use of deadly force was justified.

In addition to the general self-defense laws, Virginia has a specific law that addresses the use of deadly force against an intruder in a dwelling.

Virginia Code § 18.2-119 states:

Any person who is attacked in his own dwelling-house by another person, and has reasonable grounds to believe that the other person intends to murder him or to inflict serious bodily injury upon him, may use deadly force against his assailant, even though he has no opportunity or means to escape from the dwelling-house.

This law provides a broader justification for the use of deadly force against an intruder in a dwelling than the general self-defense laws.

However, the person using deadly force must still believe that they are in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed, and they must have no other reasonable way to escape the situation.

If you are ever in a situation where you are considering using deadly force against an intruder, you should carefully consider all of the circumstances and make sure that you are acting in accordance with the law.