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Self-Defense in a Texas Sexual Assault Case

Sexual assault is covered under Section 22.011 of the Texas Penal Code. Within this statute, there are a number of ways that someone can sexually assault an innocent victim. They go beyond rape; they include other types of nonconsensual sexual acts. Then, even more serious sexual offenses are covered under Section 22.021, aggravated sexual assault.

Essentially, a sexual assault becomes “aggravated” when the actor caused bodily injury to the victim, or if the actor tried to take the victim’s life or another person’s life during the sexual assault. To illustrate: If a man were to rape a woman, but not strike or choke her, he may be charged with sexual assault. On the other hand, if he beat the woman during the rape, he’d be charged with aggravated sexual assault, a felony of the first degree.

Can a Sexual Assault Victim Fight Back?

Sometimes, sexual assault victims fight back. While many put up a fight, not all victims succeed. Those that do may find a way to hurt the attacker. They may even find a way to take the attacker’s life – all in the name of self-defense. But is this legal? Can a sexual assault victim cause serious bodily injury or death to their rapist?

The issue of using deadly force for self-defense is covered under Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Section 9.32(B), it’s lawful for one to use deadly force against another “to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.”

So, if someone truly is being targeted for a sexual assault or an aggravated sexual assault, the victim has the right to defend themselves, and under the right circumstances, that could mean using deadly force against the attacker.

To learn more about Texas’ sexual assault and self-defense laws, don’t hesitate to contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to meet with a member of our legal team.