Violent crimes such as
aggravated assault are typically considered as serious felonies; however, there are instances
where a person may have acted within his or her rights of self-defense.
There are many variations of self-defense laws throughout the nation. While
some states impose a duty to retreat before using force or limit the use
of force to protect real estate property, others do not include this duty
by enacting “stand your ground” laws.
In Texas, the use of force (including the use of deadly force) is justified
if the individual who used force knew, or had reason to believe, that
it was being used against another who was doing any one of the following actions:
- Entering or attempting to enter his or her home, business or vehicle
- Removing or attempting to remove the person from his or her home, business
Committing or attempting to commit murder,
sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault,
robbery, aggravated robbery, or
There are special rules which govern the use of deadly force, such as using
a weapon. In general, you cannot use deadly force unless it’s immediately
necessary to protect against the other individual’s use or attempt
use of deadly force. In other words, you must reasonably believe someone
is attempting to use deadly force against you.
Regarding a “duty to retreat,” a person—who has the right
to be present at the location where the force is used—is not required
to retreat before using force, including deadly force, as long as the
individual did not provoke the person against whom the force is used nor
is the person using force engaged in criminal activity (that is not a
Class C misdemeanor). Keep in mind, self-defense in Texas is not allowed
if the person claiming the defense either provoked the individual they
were defending against or was engaged in a criminal activity.
The following are examples of when the use of force is not justified in Texas:
- In response to verbal provocation alone
- If the actor consented to the force used by another
- If the actor provoked the other’s use of unlawful force (unless he
or she abandons or clearly communicates his or her intent to abandon the
encounter and the other continues to use force against the actor).
- If the actor sought an explanation from or discussion with the other individual
while the actor was carrying a weapon or possessing or transporting a weapon.
- To resist an unlawful search or arrest by law enforcement (unless the officer
uses greater force than required before the actor resists and when the
actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect
him or herself).
If you’ve killed or seriously injured another person who was a threat
to you, you must consult with an experienced
criminal defense lawyer in Texas. For more information,
request a free consultation with our Bryan criminal defense attorney at
The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. today.