Is Self-Defense a Violent Crime?
Everyone has the right to protect themselves from physical harm. They can act in self-defense and not be liable for a violent crime. However, what exactly is self-defense? Is it punching or kicking anyone who threatens you? Or is it only utilizing force if retreating just isn’t possible?
In any case, self-defense does not mean that you can just physically hurt another individual and then claim self-defense. Self-defense can sometimes be considered assault, which is a violent crime that is punishable by criminal penalties.
Self-Defense Laws in Texas
Under the stand your ground statute, certain actions to defend yourself against harm are considered lawful. Except circumstances, an individual can lawfully use force, to some degree, against someone else if they reasonably believe that doing so is immediately necessary to protect themselves against someone else’s attempted or actual use of force. You may have to use force for self-defense when:
- Someone is trying to commit sexual assault, kidnapping, murder, or robbery.
- Someone is trying to remove another person from a home, vehicle, or business.
- Someone has successfully entered or is unlawfully trying to enter a home, vehicle, or business.
In Texas, you’re likewise permitted to defend your property under the Castle Doctrine law. This means that when protecting your property or land, you can utilize force to terminate or prevent someone from trespassing on your land or interfering with your property. Additionally, you are not legally obligated to retreat before using deadly force if it’s a justified self-defense response.
When Self-Defense Becomes a Violent Crime
Under Texas law, using force for self-defense is unlawful under these circumstances:
- To respond to verbal attacks.
- When the individual involved gives their consent to the force.
- When the individual using force is a police officer on duty.
- When an individual picks a fight, provokes someone else to use force, and later claims self-defense.
In such cases, the individual claiming self-defense may face assault charges. Self-defense claims can deny or hold up the claims, but this isn’t an exact science. For instance, if you provoke someone and then remove yourself from the situation, or clearly communicate your desire to get away but reasonably believe that you can’t just safely leave, and the other individual continues or tries to use force on you, then self-defense might be justified.
If there’s doubt as to whether a person’s actions were justified because of self-defense or if their actions were assault or any violent crime, that person may be arrested. A jury or judge must then decide whether the person committed self-defense or a violent crime. And to prove self-defense, the person must clearly demonstrate that they utilized only necessary force for neutralizing the threat.
Seek Legal Guidance from Experienced Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys
Self-defense laws can be tricky to navigate. If you used self-defense to protect yourself from harm and have been or are concerned about being charged with assault, The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help. Contact us online or call 817-332-7703 to speak to one of our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys today.