When is Self-Defense a Valid Defense Against Assault Charges?

Stalking and Assault

Self-defense is defined as the right to prevent suffering or perpetrated violence through the use of counteracting force or violence. This is a simple and straightforward concept on its own, but when it is applied to certain circumstances, the meaning can get muddy. Texas, like every other state, allows someone to claim self-defense as a defendant when accused for an illegal crime. Texas also has its own set of self-defense laws that it follows that help determine what a Texan should or shouldn’t do in regard to self-defense in certain situations.

When is Self-Defense Justified in Texas?

There are a few self-defense laws that are important to the state of Texas, because they either place additional limits on the defense, or they decrease any existing limitations. One of these laws is the stand your ground law, which many other states also follow. This law permits the use of deadly force for self-defense in places beyond your home. There’s no duty to retreat from the situation before using deadly force, as in deadly force does not have to be a last resort. Another self-defense related law that Texans should know about is the “castle doctrine,” which allows people to use deadly force without retreating first in their occupied homes, cars or workplaces. In 2007, Texas expanded even further on this law by removing the duty to retreat for people who are attacked, as long as they have the right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used. This means that Texans can use force in self-defense before retreating, so long as they aren’t on anyone else’s private property.

These self-defense laws in Texas help citizens have more freedom in how they can defend themselves and keep themselves safe in dangerous circumstances. In order to establish self-defense in an assault case, the accused usually needs to prove that:

  • There was a threat of unlawful force or violence against them
  • A genuine perceived fear of harm to themselves (reasonable bias for this fear)
  • No intended harm or provocation on their part
  • There was no chance of retreating or escaping the situation

If these four things can be proven in your assault case, you will have a great chance of using self-defense as a valid defense. Contact the Goolsby Law Firm if you want more information on your assault case and would like a free consultation.



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