The self-defense laws in Texas exist to allow you to protect yourself from harm both inside and outside the courtroom. You should feel comfortable protecting yourself from the threat of serious harm, and your lawyer should use the precedent set by the Texas self-defense laws to make sure you’re protected from criminal charges. 

If you’ve been accused of assault or homicide and you were acting in self-defense, contact a self-defense attorney who can work with you to prove to the court that the only thing you are guilty of is protecting yourself and others. 

The assault attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm know how to beat a simple assault charge or a charge for criminally negligent homicide in Texas using strategies to defend self-defense. If you or a loved one is facing charges for defending yourself or others, call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 to begin building your defense case. 

What do we mean when we say “self-defense” in Texas?

Self-defense is a legal doctrine that permits a person to use force to protect themselves or others from imminent harm or a perceived threat. Self-defense is an affirmative defense for charges of assault or homicide in Texas which means that it doesn’t attempt to prove that you are Not Guilty of the charge, but that circumstances dictate that you shouldn’t be punished for it. 

While the self-defense laws in Texas get complicated, the underlying principle is that people should not be forced to endure an attack or the fear of an attack without the ability to defend themselves. 

What is the rule of law for self-defense?

Texas, like many other states, recognizes the right to self-defense. The Texas self-defense Penal Codes are found among other “justifications that exclude criminal responsibility,” or other affirmative defenses to crimes. The statutory language is incredibly long and introduces many important definitions and concepts that define the way we talk about self-defense. 

Some of the more important concepts governing the self-defense laws in Texas include:

Reasonable belief

Throughout the statutory language, the concept of “reasonable belief” is central. An individual’s actions must be based on a reasonable belief that the use of force is necessary to protect themselves or others from harm. What is considered “reasonable” can be a subjective and complex issue, as it depends on the circumstances and the individual’s perception of the situation, and is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Reasonable amount of force 

As well as a reasonable belief in force is necessary, in order for self-defense to remain a viable defense, the amount of force you use in self-defense must be proportionate to the threat against you

Defense of self, others, or property

The statutory language outlines your ability to use force (including deadly force) to protect yourself, other people, and property. 

Civil liability in self-defense cases

While self-defense laws in Texas provide legal protection for individuals who use force to protect themselves or others in certain situations, it’s essential to understand that the use of force, especially deadly force, can have civil consequences. Even if an individual’s actions are legally justified under Texas law, they may still face civil lawsuits for damages brought by the other party or their family. This means that even if an individual is not charged with a crime — or is acquitted in a criminal case — they could still be held liable in a civil lawsuit.

In essence: in order for an action to be considered self-defense, you must have been defending yourself, others, or property from what you believed to be immediate danger, and must have used a reasonable amount of force. The other major factors that influence the self-defense laws in Texas are the Stand Your Ground Law and Castle Doctrine. 

Does Texas have the Stand Your Ground Law?

The Stand Your Ground Law and Castle Doctrine in Texas are sometimes referred to as the Texas self-defense gun laws. 

Although there is no law called the Stand Your Ground Law in Texas, the Texas Penal Code covering self-defense establishes the right to stand your ground in Texas. The language states that you do not have a duty to retreat if someone enters your home or your property unlawfully, allowing you to “stand your ground” and protect yourself using reasonable force. 

The Castle Doctrine Texas is the name commonly given to Sec. 9.31 and 9.32 of the Texas Penal Code on Self-Defense, which details the use of non-deadly and deadly force to protect your property (or your castle).

Essentially, what you need to know about the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Laws in Texas is that they establish your right to protect your property in the event that someone enters unlawfully. 

Types of assault and homicide charges self-defense can defend

Whether you’re facing first-time assault charges or you’re looking at a charge for first-degree murder in Texas, if you were acting in self-defense, you could walk away free — that is if you have the right lawyer at your side. Self-defense can act as an affirmative defense to the following assault and homicide charges:

No matter how open and shut your case may seem, you need to work with an experienced and aggressive self-defense attorney, like those from Thiessen Law Firm, if you plan on avoiding charges. 

Continue reading: What are the 4 types of homicide?

Self-defense laws in Texas have limits. Hire an attorney from Thiessen Law Firm to defend your rights. 

Your right to self-defense is a vital part of your rights, but the self-defense laws in Texas are unfortunately not perfect. To ensure you don’t do time for a crime you were forced into committing, you will still likely need to hire a Houston criminal defense attorney to defend you in a court of law. 

Self-defense cases not only often turn into contentious and complex criminal trials, but can often result in pending civil litigation from the person you were defending yourself against. Call the winning aggravated assault lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online today to begin strengthening your defense. 

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.