Is Self-Defense a Violent Crime in TX?
Depending on the circumstances, yes – self-defense can be considered a violent crime in TX. Self-defense laws are pretty simple. You have the right to protect yourself, your property, and other people, but to the degree that it is absolutely necessary. Likewise, your decision to use self-defense must be reasonable.
This reasonability factor is what typically makes establishing self-defense challenging. You will need to convince the jury that you acted reasonably when defending yourself, which is where an attorney’s skills are necessary.
What are The Self-Defense Laws in TX?
Self-defense and defense of other people and your property are criminal defenses that you can use when you have committed a violent crime but believe that you acted reasonably when doing so. While the legal system generally does not agree with violence or using force against other people, it also recognizes that all people can protect themselves and others from imminent danger and may utilize reasonable force to do so.
Under the stand your ground or similar laws, you can defend yourself from impending harm using reasonable means. In general, when defending yourself and/or other persons, you can only utilize as much force as necessary to prevent personal danger and quell the imminent threat.
Under the protection of property laws, also referred to as the castle doctrine laws, property owners can defend their properties, including homes and business spaces, from trespassers that present an obvious, visible threat of impending harm. You also don’t have a legal duty to retreat when protecting your property.
When Does Self-Defense Become a Violent Crime in TX?
Under the stand your ground laws, you must only utilize as much force as the situation and attacker presents. To illustrate, let’s say that a mugger with a knife threatened to hurt you if you didn’t give them your wallet. But the mugger doesn’t know that you have a concealed carry permit.
You used your gun and shot the mugger in the head, instantly killing them. However, because you could’ve likely prevented the threat without shooting the mugger in the head, you would probably face criminal charges because of your unjustified and unreasonable use of deadly force. Deadly force has its limits on when it can be used.
Likewise, under the castle doctrine laws, you must only utilize reasonable force when defending your property. For example, if you accidentally killed an armed robber, this would be considered a reasonable use of deadly force. On the other hand, if you chased the robber and killed them when they were already outside your property, you could face criminal charges for killing them.
Consult with a Skilled Denton, TX, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Keep in mind that utilizing excessive or deadly force can easily result in assault or murder charges. If you or a loved one utilized self-defense to protect yourself from impending danger, and are worried or have been charged with a criminal offense, contact the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, today. You can set up a free consultation with our Denton, TX, criminal defense lawyer by calling 940-222-2488 or reaching us online.