If someone tries to get in your car and if there's someone in front and behind you where you can't drive off, do you have the right to shoot through the window or do you have to wait until they are inside to defend yourself?
Well, it's a lot more complicated than you stated! It depends, on weather you have other avenues of escape, what they are using to take the vehicle from you, your fear of harm or Death, simple matters like that! Can ya just go blasting them when they come to your car, NO, do you have a right to defend yourself if they are a threat, yes! It's soooo much more complicated than you illustrated! Any time that you draw and use your weapon, It had better be on threat to your life, Not just Property or annoyance! It's a Fear of Harm or death issue, if you look at it that way and explain it in court, yes, you will probably have to go to court! Think about myour actions, Before YOU CLEAR LEATHER!
depends on the state. some states require that you retreat a certain distance before you can turn and engage a suspect in self defense. the state i live in is a stand your ground state, which means that once you clear leather, you can fire. now i am not sure about other states, but in my state, you have the right to use deadly force to stop the commission of a felony, but deadly force must be discretionary at the same time, you really shouldnt take someones life if you dont necessarily have to, no matter how much you would like to, and there has to be a serious threat involved against you. same reason why police dont just shoot a suspect who runs, that is why they run, they know the police wont shoot them. so for instance, under the law in my state, if you see someone breaking into your car, you have the right to use deadly force, but once they are in the car and are driving away, the crime has already occurred and you no longer have the ability to use such force. i wouldnt recommend using deadly force though, i think you may be able to subdue the suspect and keep him there until the police arrive if you keep a level head, now if the suspect is armed, shoot him. that is a perceiveable threat. in the case of a car jacking, i really dont care what state i am in, i would shoot in self defense, and i would shoot to kill. you would have to check your state laws on what the rules on deadly force are though. in my state, if a situation like that occurred, and you were in your vehicle and a suspect was in the process of car jacking you, that is a perceiveable threat, i could use deadly force. but i would first try to subdue the suspect. it just gets a bit dangerous when you are that close to someone because bringing a firearm into play can be more dangerous to you if you bring it in on a close quarters situation like that. i would recommend carrying a punch knife of somesort in easy reach, and stab and slash to the face, which will cause the suspect to retreat. at that point you can exit your vehicle and draw your weapon.
I think you need to concentrate on ONE thing - what is the threat and how can I stop it. If you perceive the threat as one that threatens your life, then in every state in the union you may use any necessary force to defend your life. Saying 'if I can clear leather, I can shoot' is scary to me - there are LOTS of times you might draw your gun and NOT shoot. But in the scenario you describe you need to remember a few things:
1. the other cars that are blocking you to the front and rear will NOT be blocking you once the shooting starts, they will be out of there.
2. you should never, ever, ever make statements about your inability to escape - it will do two things: Indicate to a jury that you had TIME to think about things, and delay your needed reaction to a deadly situation.
When the knife comes out you will NOT think about your escape options, you will simply react, it MIGHT be to run if you can, it MIGHT be to fight - telling me how you thought about several options at the time simply indicates to me that you had TIME and that the threat might not have been that immediate. Jurors think this way.
Your use of force, any force, to defend your life depends on the situation at the time you were confronted with it. And in NO state I'm aware of may you shoot someone for stealing your car, either during the theft, or while they are driving away. In a carjacking it's not the car you give a damn about, it's the fact that you KNOW that getting carjacked presents an immediate threat to your life - you're not defending your car in other words.
But let's say I'm you.
Some guy or guys approach my rolled up window, and start trying to open my door. Yes, my gun comes out, yes it gets pointed at them - the MOMENT a weapon appears in their hand, or it appears they are about to gain entry to me personally, I'm shooting right through the window. But let's say they see the gun and back off. Great, nobody had to be shot today. After I get clear, I'm calling the police and reporting the attempt at the carjacking. I'm not telling them what I did, or anything else on the phone. Just that someone tried to gain entry to my vehicle while I was driving, and that I got away. Be careful about making statements about ANY of your actions - it WILL be used to prosecute you. Remember that you are a victim of a crime, who simply reacted to the threat posed to you. If they are normal bad guys, they will just try the next car - if they are trying to mess with you legally by calling in a 'man with a gun' call, you have intercepted this effort by reporting the crime against you. In no case should you simply drive away and think yourself lucky, always report any crimes committed against you where you had to take part in stopping the crime, whether or not you use a gun. Bad guys are BAD - if they get pissed off that you won the fight, they'll be the first to scream 'foul' and whine to the ACLU about how they were 'intimidated' etc...
But let's say that they don't display any weapons, and they've seen me point my gun at them - if there's only ONE, I'll wait until he actually breaks my window or gains entry before I shoot him - if he lacks the ability to get to me, I lack the need to defend myself.
Let's say there are two guys, one on either door, and they both display no weapons, again - I wait until the window breaks or the door opens. But let any sort of weapon come out and the shooting will commence.
if you have to use your weapon, and the round takes a life, never say you meant to wing him, or you fired a warning shot and mistakenly hit him, you will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm within the city limits if the gun was fired in the city limits. always state plain and clear, that your life was threatened and you acted accordingly in self defense. discretion would require that you obviously not empty your weapon, but in taking the shot, just take it. personally, unless the individual was actually armed with what could be perceived a deadly weapon, I would fire one round, and step back in order to ascertain if the suspect was still a threat, if armed with a firearm, i would fire two to four depending on proximity. its a harsh and brutal situation to ponder because we do all the thinking now, and in that moment, we will simply react how we have been trained, or what our own resolve would dictate that we do. if someone is in close proximity, closer then say three to five feet, i wouldnt even resort to my firearm. i would utilize a knife, because at that close of a proximity the firearm because more of a danger to you than a tool for self defense. i carry two KA-BAR TDI knives, and ive used them, and they are highly effective. also dont underestimate the effectiveness of a quick dose of pepper spray to the face. if its a life or death situation, you do what you must, but in many of the confrontations i have had in the past, i have utilized the pepper spray before anything else, and it has proven itself effective, it allows me a little more time to go for my baton, or to draw my weapon or reach for a knife. plus the suspect has his sensory functions impaired at this point and is much less of a threat. i will have to say though, that i did go up against a pretty big guy once, who we think was hopped up on some sort of narcotics, and after two doses of spray he still kept coming. we had to utilize batons and i actually bent mine on his knee. it was amazing, what a moron.
1. Always leave enough room to see the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
If you don't regularly do this, it's proof-positive that you're driving around in, 'Condition White'. If the vehicle in front of you suddenly backs up and locks you in, well, you just went to, 'Condition Orange'.
2. Watch your rear view mirrors whenever you come to a stop. (It's the 8 and 4 o'clock positions that you really have to watch!)
3. Keep your windows closed. (Negates the use of pepper spray!)
4. Unless it is absolutely necessary, stay inside the vehicle.
5. Be aware of every possible escape route - including expedients like entering into and driving in the wrong lane, or driving up onto the sidewalk in order to get away.
6. When trapped inside a vehicle, your first line of defense is always YOUR OWN VEHICLE, itself. So, use it to get out of there!
7. If you have to ram, it's always better to push, hard, into something with the rear, rather than the front, of your vehicle. You might be able to, 'power shove' the car behind you backwards and, thus, force an opening for yourself.
8. According to most American jurisprudence: The most legitimate reason to fire your gun from inside your vehicle is IF the other guy, also, has AND attempts to use a gun against you.
Of course, if someone should break and attempt to enter one of your vehicle's windows, then, you've just been handed a free pass. (Another good reason to always keep your windows closed!)
Nothing like this has ever happened to me; but, if it did and I couldn't just drive off, first thing I'd do is draw and let him see the pistol. If you want to pick up some pointers on how to survive in a hostile urban environment, checkout FerFAL on the internet.