In Texas, individuals do not have a duty to retreat and are allowed to use force against individuals who are using or attempting to use unlawful force against them or someone else.
This is known as the Texas stand your ground law. Under this law, self-defense is a complete defense to a criminal charge, as long as certain circumstances are met.
If you want to know whether the stand your ground law applies to your case, contact our team at Austin Hagee Law Firm.
Our criminal defense lawyers can walk you through the criminal process and help ease the burden on you every step of the way.
What Is the Stand Your Ground Law, and When Does It Apply?
In Texas, the Stand Your Ground law removes the obligation to retreat if you reasonably believe you’re facing a threat. This protection extends to your residence, vehicle, or workplace. Furthermore, you can legally employ deadly force when it’s deemed absolutely necessary to prevent specific violent crimes like sexual assault, kidnapping, murder, or robbery.
In order to qualify to claim self-defense, the accused must:
- Reasonably believe force was necessary to stop or prevent the target’s use of unlawful force,
- Not provoke the unlawful force,
- Not be engaging in a crime, and
- Use the minimum force reasonably necessary to defend oneself or another in the situation.
When someone is at home, at work, or in their vehicle, they can use proportional reasonable force to defend themselves, as long as they have a reason to believe the target is attempting to break and enter, about to commit an imminent assault, or is trying to remove them from their location.
In situations similar to this, under Texas law, lethal force is appropriate by the defending party. This is known as the castle doctrine.
Self-defense can arise for criminal charges such as:
Contact our office today to discuss your case and determine whether self-defense is a viable defense for you.
When Is a Self-Defense Claim Not Permitted?
In certain circumstances, self-defense is not a valid justification for using force. The defendant cannot claim self-defense if they:
- Used force against a police officer during a lawful arrest,
- Provoked the use of force, or
- Responded with force during a verbal confrontation.
Additionally, the use of force must be proportional to the force being threatened by the other party. Deadly force may be justified when someone is attacked inside their home, work, or vehicle.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at Austin Hagee Law Firm to Discuss Texas Stand Your Ground Law
If you are facing criminal charges for defending yourself, a criminal defense lawyer can offer valuable information and resources to help get your charges reduced or dismissed.
An experienced criminal lawyer can assist you by:
- Interviewing witnesses to testify on your behalf;
- Locating any police reports describing the incident;
- Obtaining surveillance footage that captures the incident;
- Determining whether self-defense applies to your case;
- Negotiating with the district attorney to reduce or drop your charges; and
- Preparing your case for trial, if necessary.
The defense attorneys at Austin Hagee Law Firm are here to advocate for you and stand by your side throughout the criminal process.
A valid self-defense claim can completely justify your actions against the perpetrator. As former prosecutors, we know what facts to look for to solidify your self-defense claim.
Contact our office today to discuss your case with a qualified criminal defense lawyer.