Recently, news broke that a Portsmouth homeowner shot a burglar who had broken into his home. While the investigation is still underway, and neither the police nor the man have publicly commented on what happened that day, attorney Jarrett McCormack thinks that it will all come down to whether or not the homeowner felt threatened by the burglar. He further states that "you have a reasonable fear for your family or yourself" during an attempted robbery, so he finds it unlikely that criminal charges will be filed.
However, the fact remains that Virginia does not have a castle doctrine, or "defense of habitation law," that would permit a homeowner to use deadly force when defending their home. Such a law has been proposed, and defeated, multiple times in the state. Yet, it is also true that the burglar wasn't seriously or fatally hurt during the incident; while he did have to be taken to the hospital after the shooting, it has since been reported that he is doing fine. It is for this reason that McCormack finds it unlikely that any charges will be filed against the homeowner—as deadly force was not used.
"I think commonwealth attorneys often times shy away from it because when somebody breaks into a house, they're not the most sympathetic victim," states McCormack. The fact of the matter is that the man's home was burglarized at 3 A.M., and he found it necessary to defend himself and his family. The police investigation is still underway, however, so very few details have surfaced about how the burglar broke in, whether or not threats were made and/or what condition the burglar was in before he was shot. For this reason, it is still possible that criminal charges could be filed.
To learn more about this case, read the full story here.
by Jarrett McCormack