The House of Delegates Bill (HB48) mirrors the Senate version of the bill (SB4):
§ 18.2-91.1. Use of physical force, including deadly force, against an intruder; justified self-defense.
Any person who lawfully occupies a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when (i) the other person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and has committed an overt act toward the occupant or another person in the dwelling and (ii) the occupant reasonably believes he or another person in the dwelling is in imminent danger of bodily injury.It fails at some of the same things which I thought were shortcomings in the version I discussed previously.
(1) "Injury" is a poor choice of words. It already has the specific meaning under Virginia law of serious internal bodily damage. This is as compared to "wound", which means bodily damage which breaks the skin, and "harm", which is less well defined but seems to mean causing pain and non-serious bodily damage. The General Assembly could do better to state "wounding or injury." It could also write a specific definition into the statute. As it stands, bodily injury cannot mean only what the term of art "injury" has meant under current interpretation because it would be ridiculous to restrict this statute to bodily injuries that did not break the skin. This will mean that the meaning will be undefined and we get to spend time arguing over whether a punch in the face justifies deadly force under this statute.
(2) I wish it stated "feloniously entered" instead of "unlawfully entered." I have visions of every yahoo who has his fight with his neighbor spill into his house or who gets into a fight with his cousin in the kitchen claiming he has the right to use deadly force because "He was trespassing in my house."
(3) I wish there were presumptions in this that stated that entry into a residence at night (burglary), while the residents are asleep does not require an overt act.
All-in-all, I don't expect this statute to change much of anything. Virginia isn't the most forgiving Commonwealth when it comes to somebody who breaks into someone else's house. I can't remember any legitimate cases wherein I've seen someone prosecuted - or even sued - for taking care of an intruder in his house.