Self Defense

In certain situations, Texas law permits a person to defend themselves, their property, another person or their property, from others.  The use of force — even deadly force — is justified in very specific situations.

Self defense claims are ways to defend yourself against a criminal charge.  In essence, you are arguing that you were justified in using force because the person you hurt or killed was going to harm you, another person, or property.  

Defense of a Person

A person is justified in using deadly force against an attacker if he reasonably believes that it is necessary to protect himself or another person against the attacker’s use (or attempted use) of unlawful deadly force. It is also justified to prevent an aggravated kidnapping, murder, rape or robbery.  If a reasonable person in that situation would have retreated, then the use of deadly force is not justified.  

Self-defense cases involving the use of force can arise in a number of different contexts:
  • A woman is walking down a dark street when a man jumps out and grabs her, then shows her a knife and tells her to come with him and she won’t get hurt.  If the woman or a bystander uses force or deadly force against the attacker, it may be self-defense under Texas law.
  • If a man is in bed at home when he hears the sounds of breaking glass.  An intruder comes into his room and points a gun at him.  If the man uses his own gun to shoot at the intruder, it may be self-defense.

In either of these cases, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to present a self-defense argument to have the charges dismissed or to get a not guilty verdict at trial.

Need help with your self defence case?

Contact Us

Defense of Property

A person can also use deadly force to protect his or another person’s property if he reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary to prevent the other person from committing arson, burglarly, robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime.  However, the keys to use of force in this context is (1) that the force is used only to the degree necessary and (2) the property cannot be protected by any other means.

When Deadly Force Is Not Justified

While a person can use deadly force to protect himself, another person or even property in certain situations, it is not always justified.  

The use of force or deadly force is not justified:
  • In response to verbal provocation alone (i.e., it must be a physical threat, not a verbal threat)
  • To resist an arrest by a peace officer
  • If the person agreed to the force used (i.e., in a fight that both parties agreed to)
  • If the person provoked the attack, unless the person attempts to leave the encounter and the attacker continued
  • If the person sought to talk to the other person about their differences while carrying a weapon in violation of the law
  • If the person recklessly injures or kills another person when acting in self defense

The law regarding self-defense and justification for the use of deadly force is complicated, and depends on the specific facts of the situation.  If you would like to learn more about self-defense, contact the Law Office of Chad West today.

Self Defense Attorneys in Dallas, Texas

In Texas, you have a right to protect yourself, your family and your home in certain scenarios.  If you have used force or deadly force to protect yourself, others or property, you may be entitled to present a justification defense based on self-defense.  At the Law Office of Chad West, we are experienced in handling self-defense cases, and will evaluate your case to determine if self-defense is a possibility. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the use of self-defense in Texas.