Under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code, if an action is justified under the code, it excludes criminal responsibility. One justification defense is “Self Defense.“
A person may use force, including deadly force, to defend themselves or others from an imminent threat of unlawful force. The pertinent parts of the Texas Penal Code relating specifically to self defense is Section 9.31.
Use of Force to Protect Oneself
A person may use force to protect themselves from the use or attempted use of unlawful force. The force used must be reasonable and proportionate to the threat faced by the individual.
Use of Force to Protect Others
A person may use force to protect another person from the use or attempted use of unlawful force. The individual using force must have a reasonable belief that the third person is in imminent danger of bodily harm. The force used must be reasonable and proportionate to the threat faced by the third person.
A person may use deadly force to protect themselves or others inside their home, vehicle, or business.
Stand Your Ground
The “Stand Your Ground” law allows a person to use deadly force to defend themselves without a duty to retreat. You must have a reasonable belief the force is immediately necessary. In order to protect from an imminent threat of bodily harm or death.
The use of force in self-defense is not unlimited. The force used must also be reasonable and proportionate to the threat faced. If the force used is excessive, the individual could face criminal charges.
Texas law does not require individuals to retreat if possible before using deadly force.
DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON
The use of deadly force is permissible to protect from imminent harm, but only under certain circumstances. See Section 9.32 of the Texas Penal Code.
The requirements to use deadly force in self-defense:
- Imminent Threat: A reasonable belief there is an imminent threat of bodily harm or death to themselves or another person. The threat must be immediate, and there must be no reasonable way to avoid the danger.
- Reasonable Belief: A reasonable belief the use of deadly force is necessary to protect a person from the threat.
- Proportionality: The use of deadly force must be proportional to the threat faced. The force used should not exceed what is necessary to protect oneself or another person from the imminent threat.
- No Provocation: The person using deadly force must not have provoked the other person into using force.
- No Criminal Activity: Must not be engaged in criminal activity at the time of the incident. Anything more serious than a Class C offense related to traffic regulation.
- Place of Protection: Must be in a place where they had a right to be.
Do you have to wait until you are attacked to use deadly force in self defense?
NO. You do not have to wait until you are actually physically attacked before using deadly force in self-defense. You only need to reasonably believe that there is an imminent threat of bodily harm or death. However, it is crucial that the person’s belief be reasonable under the circumstances. Also, the use of deadly force be proportional to the threat faced.
Presenting a claim of self defense can be complicated by inflamatory facts and circumstances. LeGrande Law cares about your situation and will help you present justification defenses in your case.
If you are looking for a Houston criminal defense lawyer to defend your rights, and fight on your behalf, in the court of law, contact Tristan LeGrande as soon as possible.