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When Can I Claim Self-Defense?

Are you being accused of assault or aggravated assault? Or, are you under investigation for manslaughter or murder? If so, we understand that you may have had a very good reason for using force, especially if that force was necessary to defend yourself or even your life.

As criminal defense attorneys who regularly defend individuals accused of family violence and assaultive offenses, we are well-aware that it “takes two” to get into a fight. Often, our client was initially the one being assaulted, but they fought back and ended up facing criminal charges.

If you are in this situation, you need to ensure that your side of the story is heard loud and clear.

If there were no witnesses or if there isn’t any video footage documenting the incident, it’s going to be your word against the alleged victim’s, and you need an experienced defense lawyer to put the puzzle pieces together.

What if you were defending yourself, can you claim self-defense? This is a very good question – continue reading to learn more about claiming self-defense in Texas.

Claiming ‘Self-Defense’ Under Texas Law

Yes, it is possible to claim self-defense if you’re being charged with a violent crime, such as aggravated assault or manslaughter. Self-defense is covered under Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code.

Under Sec. 9.31(a), people are justified in using force against another person if they reasonably believe that they must use force to protect themselves against the other person’s attempt or use of unlawful force.

It is reasonable for you to defend yourself if you knew or had reason to believe that the other person whom you used force against:

  • Attempted to or entered into your home, vehicle, business, or place of employment with force,
  • Unlawfully and with force, attempted to or removed you from any of the above places,
  • Was attempting to or committed robbery or aggravated robbery, sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, kidnaping, or murder, and
  • You did not provoke the individual whom you used force against.

When You Can’t Claim Self-Defense

Just because you were involved in an altercation, it does not mean that you can always claim self-defense.

Under Sec. 9.31(b), you cannot claim self-defense when: 1) you were responding to a verbal altercation alone, 2) you are resisting arrest, 3) when you consented to the force, or 4) when you provoked the other person.

Under Sec. 9.32, a person is justified in using deadly force against another in several scenarios, for example, to protect oneself against another’s use of deadly force, or to prevent a kidnapping, robbery, or sexual assault.

If you acted in self-defense and now you’re facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate to contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for a confidential consultation!

Categories: Assault, Self-Defense