Under the historical Castle Doctrine, individuals were not required to flee their homes in the case of a threat; rather, they had the right to use justifiable force against any unlawful intruders. The Texas version of the Castle Doctrine is embodied in the self-defense laws set forth at Tex. Pen. Code §§ 9.31 and 9.32.
In the state of Texas, under certain circumstances, you are presumed to have acted reasonably and justifiably if you use force or deadly force to defend yourself against an intruder who entered your occupied habitation, your vehicle, or your business or place of employment. These situations may exist when:
· An individual unlawfully and forcibly enters or attempts to enter your occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business.
· An individual unlawfully and forcibly removes or attempts to remove you from your occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business.
The term “habitation,” however, is very limited in scope. Habitation does not include your entire property. Rather, habitation includes structure or vehicles that are equipped to accommodate individuals overnight, and any other structures attached to them. For example, habitation would cover both your home and a garage attached to your home. However, it would not include a garage or shed that is wholly detached from your home.
Your vehicle for the purposes of these code sections includes not only passenger vehicles, but also golf carts, boats, airplanes, or any vehicle that carries people from one place to another. However, the vehicle must actually be occupied in order for the self-defense doctrine to apply.
If you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 359-3362 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.