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Can Domestic Violence be a form of Self-Defense in Texas?
In: Criminal Law

Can Domestic Violence be a form of Self-Defense in Texas?

All of us, regardless of gender, have the legal right to defend ourselves against any kind of violence. For example, defending yourself against someone assaulting you in the street or a burglar who entered your home will never be an issue, as far as criminal law is concerned. On the other hand, there’s one specific situation where the lines are blurred between unnecessary and justifiable violence, and this situation involves domestic violence.

Being wrongfully accused of domestic violence or abuse is actually common. It usually results from false assumptions by the people investigating the case, willful defamation of the falsely accused party, or a misunderstanding between parties involved in a domestic violence case. In turn, an act of legitimate self-defense becomes misconstrued as an intentional act to hurt another individual.

Was Self-Defense Justified?

Before claiming that you’ve been wrongfully accused of domestic violence because of the alleged victim’s willful falsification of the events that occurred, you need to establish that your self-defense actions during the incident can be considered self-defense as defined under the law. A crucial point here is that an immediate threat to your safety drove you to act the way you did. For instance, if the alleged victim is intent on hurting you to the point of severely injuring or maybe killing you, self-defense may be justified because you reacted accordingly to the perceived threat.

Another vital point to keep in mind is that for violent actions to be considered self-defense, the actions must have been carried out with just the right amount of force needed to ensure the defendant’s safety. This means that follow-up actions, such as repeatedly kicking the alleged victim while they’re down on the ground and causing severe injuries to the alleged victim, would typically be considered an act of domestic violence.

When Self-Defense Against Domestic Violence Cannot be Legally Justifiable

The court may reject a plea of self-defense if the defendant’s actions were, beyond a reasonable doubt, established to be an overreaction or irrational response. This means that you acted beyond your ability to defend yourself and instead went on the offensive. Basically, your overreaction to the possible threat caused the alleged victim unnecessary harm.

To illustrate, let’s say that the alleged victim punched you, and you reacted by stabbing the alleged victim or hurling him or her to the ground and then repeatedly punching the alleged victim. The court will most likely determine that your self-defense actions can’t be legally justified because your reaction was disproportionate to the threat.

Learn How an Experienced Fort Worth, TX, Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

A charge of domestic violence in Texas is not something that you should take lightly because the state takes all domestic violence cases very seriously. In Texas, domestic violence is related to three criminal offenses, and all these come with very harsh penalties. If you’ve been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker today. Our experienced Fort Worth, TX, domestic violence attorney can go over your case and discuss the best legal options that may apply to your case. Call 817-332-7703 now or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.