Self-Defense – How Is That Defined in Texas?

Self-Defense – How Is That Defined in Texas?

As a United States citizen, you have the right to defend yourself against a threat, even when this means the use of deadly force. Criminal defense attorneys do point out that there is a fine line between what is considered legal self-defense and actions that could result in criminal charges.

While Texas is a state that observes the “Stand Your Ground” law, criminal defense lawyers warn the importance of having a thorough understanding of the definition of self-defense to avoid unexpected problems should you ever need to act to protect yourself or loved ones.

What Is the Definition of Self-Defense in Texas?

Criminal defense attorneys understand that the state of Texas recognizes self-defense as a legal right to protect one’s self or other third parties when there is a threat of harm. Self-defense can be exhibited in a range of qualifying behaviors from threatening violence to physical contact, even the use of deadly force.

Yet to qualify as self-defense, criminal defense attorneys stress that any action must result from a perceived necessity to defend against an actual physical threat. Action against verbal assaults is not considered self-defense nor is defending yourself after provoking a threat.

What Is the “Stand Your Ground” Law?

In 2007, Texas adopted a law commonly referred to as the “Stand Your Ground” law. It expands on the "Castle Doctrine" law that was previously observed. Prior to being passed, criminal defense lawyers were required to uphold the law that as a Texan, you had the duty to stand down before using deadly force for self-defense unless confronted in your home or on personal property.

Since the passing of this expanded law, as a Texas resident you have the right to act in self-defense including the use of deadly force anywhere you can legally be present. As criminal defense attorneys explain, this can mean your home, on personal property, or any other location. The use of deadly force is assumed to be reasonable when you must defend yourself against an intrusion or attack at your home, workplace, in a car, or on the street.

When Self-Defense Is Questioned

Criminal defense attorneys find that when claims of self-defense are obvious, police at the scene will not generally press charges. Yet if claims of self-defense are questionable or the necessity to act in self-defense is at all unclear, charges may be filed. In these situations, you may need the assistance of experienced criminal defense attorneys to prove your claim and the fact that your reaction was in self-defense in order to prevent harm to yourself or others.

The “Stand Your Ground” self-defense allows you as a Texas citizen to defend yourself and other third parties when there is an imminent threat of harm by another person. Again, criminal defense attorneys emphasize that under this law, residents may defend against intrusion or attack whether they are in their homes or other places where they are legally permitted to be, including public locations.

As a Texas resident, you do have the legal right to defend yourself against threats as necessary; however, criminal defense lawyers warn that the use of lethal force should still be used as a last resort.

Garza & Elizondo, LLP

Downtown Brownsville
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680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
(956) 202-0067

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Brownsville TX 78526
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San Benito TX 78586

(956) 202-0067