A foot in YOUR door.

So, suppose you have a front door with a chain on it that allows the door to open 6 inches or so. And suppose someone does not want you to close your door all the way so they stick a hand or foot through the opening. Because they want to talk to you or interview you. And you’d rather be let alone. And you’ve informed the intruder several times you want them to leave. And they won’t.

Purely a hypothetical situation, but in a legal sense, would any harm that might befall the intruding limb be the responsibility of the person who repeatedly asked the intruder to leave? Or to the person attempting to force their way into the residence?

IANAL, but I imagine that reasonable force could be used to remove the offending limb. That could include pushing/shoving/hitting, but probably wouldn’t extend to shooting/stabbing/chainsawing.

It probably depends heavily on the laws in your jurisdiction (and the mood of the responding officers and/or prosecutor). Is the foot attached to a cop? A vagrant? Your ex-boyfriend who you have a restraining order against?

If they’re just being overly rude or aggressive but not actually attempting to enter your house or harm you, and I knew they couldn’t get in, I’d probably call the police and tell them what’s going on. I’d also probably give them a chance by letting them know I’m calling the police and they best be on their way.

If they’re trying to break on, all bets are off.

Something to keep in mind though is that if you push back on the door hard enough that you pinch their foot/fingers/arm in it, they won’t actually be able to leave. So that’s something you have to weigh. Do you let off enough to give them the chance to leave, but also risk them being able to get further in?
I something think about that scenario if I were to close my car window on someone’s arm while they’re trying to reach in.

Suppose someone had a hammer handy? 6 penny nails and a hammer? Boiling oil? Though I suspect in a state with the Castle Defense law, an Eyewitness News Team wanting to interview someone could have a wholly unexpected story.

Walk away from them. Leave the room. They’ll eventually move on.

If they break in, have them arrested for breaking and entering.

That’s what I was thinking earlier, but if the chain is stopping them from breaking in, they may make it in soon. I’d rather stay there with my foot wedged on the door to prevent that while police are en route.

The way I read our castle doctrine law (IANAL) is that I can do anything short of what would be categorized as a Class A felony (murder or kidnapping) to defend against someone trying to enter my home.

If they actually DO get in, all bets are off.

Best advice. I’d probably err on the side of discretion and walk to the bedroom where there is some more serious deterrent available.

In my one class on law (Business law, but did spend a couple weeks on criminal law) I was taught that a lethal attack is only legally justified if there is a reasonable fear that the intruder may endanger your (or your family’s) life. Of course, you’d probably end up in court with the burden of convincing a jury of that. However, if the attack is a non-lethal attack (meaning that not only does it not kill, but would almost certainly never kill), then you’d be alright.

FTR, gunshots are almost always considered a lethal attack, no matter where on the body you aim. However, the attacks described in the OP, as I understand it, would be alright.

Would peeing on the foot be reasonable force?

Most of those chains can be ripped from the door jamb with one good shove. I would not feel at all safe if someone was pushing to get in. Just putting their foot there and arguing might feel less threatening.

If someone is actually shoving their foot, or hand, into my home after I’ve told them to leave, I’m perfectly willing to call their Girl Scout troop leader, and tell them I will definitely NOT be buying any Thin Mints year. At least, not from their troop. Why else would anyone be trying to force their way into your house? :rolleyes:

I’m thinking they’d probably jerk their foot back quickly when they saw me with my candle lighter trying to set their pants cuff on fire.

I’m waiting for Beckdawrek to weigh in on this one.


Well okay. You asked for it. I don’t have chains on my doors. I fear fire more than intruders. I would know you were on the place before I could see you coming. I have a gate alarm. I am loaded for bear, so to speak. Most people driving down my road wouldn’t even know there is a house back here. That’s the reason we installed the gate alarm. Folks just kept driving up here to park or do nefarious things, I assume.
Salesman, delivery persons or Jehovah witnesses have never got to me, yet.
I’ll wave if you fly over, though.

If they only stick their hand in, they’d better listen when I tell them to remove it, because when I start slamming my door shut it won’t feel good. If they stick in a sturdy shoe, though, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to convey my intentions even if I slam my full weight into the door, so I might be at a loss.

I have a large dog who doesn’t like strangers and has poor bite inhibition. I think that would take care of the problem.

A friend of mine once suggested a high-fidelity recording of a shotgun being pumped. Perhaps with a deep male voice saying something along the lines of, “git out of ma way, yer in my line o’ fahr!”

Interesting username/post topic juxtaposition.

My barking lunging pit bull mix is generally enough to keep people halfway down the walk. Little do they know the worst he’d probably do is shed on them or maybe trip them trying to get pets.

If they did persist in sticking an hand or foot in and didn’t retract when I slammed the door, well, I have a Stanley knife in my purse on the front table. I’d probably stab them.