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.