What Texans Need To Know About Self-Defense

In light of recent events, the TNM’s General Counsel has issued the following guidance for Texans who may be forced to use deadly force to defend themselves.

Self-defense and defense of another person are defenses to prosecution in Texas. A defense to prosecution means that you can still be arrested, charged, and taken to trial for a crime involving violence. At trial, a defendant will have the opportunity to present evidence that they acted in self-defense (or defense of another person), and that is why a jury should find him or her not guilty.

Both self-defense and defense of another person are statutorily defined and provide a defense to prosecution when the conduct in question is “justified.” A person is justified in using force against another when, and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. A person is justified in using deadly force against another, when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force.

A person is justified in using deadly force in defense of others so long as the accused reasonably believes that the third person would be justified in using deadly force to protect himself. Both of these defenses—self-defense and defense of others—may be raised as justifications for a defendant’s actions and in support of an acquittal against a charge of murder, manslaughter, or another violent crime.

All that being said, the use of force against another is not justified in response to verbal provocation alone or when the person using force provoked the person against whom the force was used.

In short, know your rights, be safe, and be smart.

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