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500 Main St, Suite J, Kerrville, TX 78028

Texas Self-Defense Attorney Assists Clients who Responded to a Threat

Kerrville lawyer handles cases involving Castle Doctrine and Stand your Ground claims

You have a right to defend yourself and others from harm. When your efforts to do so result in a criminal charge, you can count on the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C. in Kerrville. I am a Board-certified Texas criminal defense attorney who understands how to litigate complex cases where accused individuals were acting to protect themselves, someone else or their property.  

Texas laws of self-defense

Texas law recognizes that you may use force against another person to the extent that you believe it is immediately necessary to guard against the other person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. If you’re charged with murder, attempted murder or another violent crime, I can give you an honest assessment as to whether a valid self-defense claim can be made under Texas law.

When is self-defense justified in Texas law?

To demonstrate that you acted in self-defense, you must show the following elements:

  • Imminence The threat of harm against which you were defending yourself must be one you believed posed an immediate danger.
  • Proportionality — The amount of force you used must have been proportional to the potential harm you faced. For instance, you can’t use lethal force to defend yourself in a fist fight.
  • Reasonableness The level of force you use must be reasonable under the circumstances. This means that you cannot use lethal force when you can effectively prevent harm with non-lethal force.

When raising this affirmative defense, my firm works diligently to gather relevant information that the police might have missed in their initial investigation. Presenting evidence regarding the totality of circumstances leading up to the alleged crime can weaken the prosecutor’s case. 

When should self-defense be used as a legal strategy in Texas?

Self-defense may be an appropriate defense to a criminal charge in a number of situations, such as when one of the following is the alleged victim:

  • An intruder in the home or workplace
  • Someone attempting to break into a car
  • Someone trying to commit a kidnapping or sexual assault
  • Someone brandishing a weapon
  • Someone threatening violence during a road rage incident or another encounter

As an accomplished Kerr County criminal defense attorney, I am experienced at identifying appropriate self- defense situations and finding persuasive ways to help clients avoid unjust punishment. 

Using self-defense to protect others and your property

Two principles now recognized under state law are commonly referred to as the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground law. The Castle Doctrine gives someone the right to use force, possibly including deadly force, when they are in their home, car or workplace and have a reasonable belief that an intruder poses a threat to them. As they are protecting their “castle,” they do not have a duty to retreat. The Stand Your Ground principle extends the legal use of self-defense to situations outside of one’s property or place of employment. However, to cite one of these self-defense doctrines, you must not have precipitated the incident and must have reasonably believed that someone was in harm’s way.  

Self-defense in Texas civil lawsuits

You can also use a claim of self-defense in a civil case alleging intentional assault and battery, even if you aren’t charged criminally for your conduct. To succeed with this defense, you must show that you were acting reasonably in response to an authentic threat.  Though the legal standards are different in civil and criminal cases, there are instances where both types of claims arise out of a single incident.  

Contact a Board-certified Texas attorney regarding a self-defense claim

The Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C. in Kerrville represents clients who were acting in self-defense during incidents for which they were accused of a crime. To schedule an appointment, call 830-955-8168 or contact me online.