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New Tennessee Bill Would Allow Use of Deadly Force to Protect Property

 Posted on December 28,2020 in Criminal Defense

Union County criminal defense attorney

This past year has been turbulent, to say the least. With an international pandemic, racial turmoil and protests, and the 2020 presidential election all occurring in the last 12 months, many are looking forward to the start of the new year. This includes legislators who have been filing 2021 bills over the past few months. The subjects that these bills cover include a wide range, but many are in response to this past year’s events. 2020’s record of looting and destroyed property in cities across the country has one Tennessee lawmaker looking for loosened restrictions when it comes to self-defense and citizens’ responses to property crimes.

House Bill 11

The current Tennessee law regarding self-defense is clear: Deadly force for the purpose of self-defense is only legal if you fear for your life or someone else’s. For those who are victims of property crimes, in other words, someone is stealing or damaging their belongings, using deadly force against the perpetrator is considered a felony. While widening these restrictions may not have been on legislators’ minds in the previous sessions, the infamous looting and significant property damage that occurred throughout 2020 has one lawmaker looking for a change.

State Representative Jay Reedy filed HB 11 to provide leeway for those protecting their property. If passed, the bill would allow for the use of deadly force against those committing property crimes. Rep. Reedy notes that the bill will likely be tightened up to reduce the possibility of vague legal restrictions, but Reedy also believes that Americans have a right to protect their businesses or hard-earned property. If passed, the bill would take effect in July of 2021. 

As is expected, many are concerned about the implications that this bill can have on Tennessee residents. According to WTVF reporting in Nashville, one legal analyst claims that the bill would allow a victim to shoot a theft suspect in the back as he runs from the scene, even when there is no personal threat. This could lead to discrepancies regarding lawful reactions to actions perceived as stealing. 

Standing Your Ground

Commonly known as self-defense, Tennessee follows the Stand Your Ground law, which allows the use of deadly force for self-defense if you fear that you are in imminent danger of serious injury or death by the actions of another person. The law states that if someone enters your home, property, hotel room, or vehicle, you are legally allowed to defend yourself by using deadly force. In a court of law, your attorney must prove that you were in imminent danger; otherwise, the deadly force can lead to your own criminal charges. 

Contact a Knoxville, TN Criminal Defense Attorney

HB 11 will be discussed in the upcoming legislative session and may become a Tennessee law in the coming year. Until that time, using deadly force is still considered illegal. If you are a victim of property crimes and used deadly force to protect your own life, it is important to work with a reputable criminal defense attorney who can properly outline these critical details in a court of law. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, provides aggressive representation in court so that his clients receive the legal assistance that they need. If you are facing property crime or deadly force charges, contact our skilled Knox County criminal defense lawyer at 865-281-1000 to schedule your free initial consultation.




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