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Can you set defensive traps for a trespasser?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If you’re worried about someone breaking into your home or trespassing on your private property, it may feel very natural to do whatever it takes to protect yourself. For some people, this even includes setting booby traps on their property to deter trespassers.

But the truth is that it is federally illegal to set lethal and non-lethal traps, and you could be criminally liable if you do so. Despite the popularity of movies like Home Alone, booby traps are considered a hazard to the general public. If people were allowed to set traps without discretion, many innocent individuals could be harmed – such as a mail carrier who is just trying to deliver the mail and not attempting to trespass on someone else’s property. As such, you could face serious charges if you set a trap that injures someone else, even if the person who was injured was never supposed to be on your property in the first place.

You may also be civilly liable

On top of the criminal charges that you could face for injuring someone else, you may be civilly liable for the injuries that took place. If the other person needed medical care or missed time at work due to their injuries, you may have to pay them compensation for those costs.

As you can see, it is very important to carefully consider the law in advance. You can still face charges for doing something illegal, even if you did not expressly understand that it was illegal at the time. If you do find yourself in this position, then it’s crucial for you to know about all of the legal criminal defense options that you have.