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self-defense

Examples That Do Not Justify the Use of Force as Self-Defense in Texas

By Peek & Toland on August 6, 2020

1. Consent to an activity 

You consent to an activity, and it’s agreed upon that people are going to use force upon one another. For example, boxing, football, and soccer, but it has to follow the rules of the game. If you consent to that, you can’t justify getting hit, and then argue self-defense when you hit someone back.

2. Resisting Lawful Arrest 

Even if the arrest turns out to be a mistake, that sounds counterintuitive, but let’s say the police come and arrest John Smith. And it turns out that you’re John Edward Smith, and you’re not the same person. Still, if the police come and arrest you peacefully without using excessive force upon you, you can’t resist arrest, use force, hit the police officer, and justify your actions through self-defense. 

3. Words Alone 

Words alone can never be enough to justify you using physical force upon another person. As a general rule, if you’re out in public, words alone aren’t enough to warrant you using force on the other person. 

4. If you are the one that provokes the situation

You can never justify self-defense when you’re the person that provoked the situation. You can’t create a situation that justifies you using force on someone. For example, let’s say you pick a fight with your arch enemy using words, and the conflict escalates to physical interaction. Well, if you started the situation, you can’t use self-defense later.

As we continue our discussion, we’re going to talk about defensive third parties and the use of deadly force defending yourself, defending yourself at your home, car, or your workplace. Texas has some particular examples of the castle doctrine. We’re going to dive into that in the next couple of series here on In Your Defense. Stay tuned. 

We encourage you to reach out to attorney Steve Toland if you have any questions about defenses of property, defenses of self, or any justification defenses. 


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4Rules to Justify Self-Defense in Texas | In Your Defense Series

By Peek & Toland on July 24, 2020

Welcome to In Your Defense. Attorney Steve Toland discusses rules to justify self-defense and goes over examples that do not justify the use of force as self-defense in Texas. 

4 Rules to Justify Self-Defense in Texas

First, you need to remember that Texas is a stand your ground state. You can stand your ground as long as you’re not the primary aggressor.

There are four rules you would need to follow to justify using force against someone else if you’re defending yourself. 

  1. You have to be reasonable in your belief that it must be immediately necessary to exact force upon another person.
  2. You’re only allowed to use the reasonable amount of force needed to stop whatever that person’s doing to you. You have to balance your response proportionately. 
  3. You have to be in a legal position. You can’t be breaking the law when you try and then justify your use of force on somebody else. 
  4. You cannot be the instigator.

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Self Defense and Assault Charges

By Peek & Toland on June 27, 2019

An assault charge can result from a variety of situations. Whether an argument, a fight, or an attack, one of the most commonly used defenses in response to an assault charge is self-defense. Fighting back tends to be an automatic reaction when someone is assaulting you. However, it can result in an assault charge, and if you use a weapon or cause severe injuries to the other person, it can result in an aggravated assault charge.

The prosecutor has the burden of proof in assault cases. This means that not only must the prosecutor prove that you committed the crime, but he or she also must prove that you committed the crime with the requisite criminal intent. More specifically, there must be proof that you intentionally harmed or threatened the other person in anger or with malice. If you are claiming that you committed the assault in self-defense, but without any intentions of harming anyone, then it is essential to understand that you must receive a threat of violence to use self-defense against another person. Although you do not have to wait for the person to strike you or throw the first punch, there does need to be a clear threat of violence or to your safety to claim self-defense.

Self-Defense and Assault Charges

Claiming self-defense can be complicated in some assault cases, especially if you started the fight or were the first aggressor. However, even if you started the fight, but the other person elevated the altercation to use deadly force, then you could use deadly force in self-defense. Mainly, the level of force that you use in defending yourself must be at the same level of the threat of violence against you. No matter the type of criminal law issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of criminal cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your criminal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your case successfully.

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Texas Man was Targeted by Gunman in Burnet County

By Peek & Toland on May 18, 2018

Self-defense is a defense to many crimes in Texas if it’s proportionate to the offense. Recently, in Burnet County, a man said he disarmed and beat unconscious an attacker who targeted his family.

A man from Cottonwood Shores said his family was targeted by a gunman as he drove along RM 1431 in Burnet County.

The American-Statesman reported he disarmed and beat unconscious the assailant who he said was aiming at his wife and son.

Johnny Henderson told the Statesman he and his family were shaken up but not hurt after the attack. He said an off-duty police officer shot and wounded the gunman and Henderson jumped him. Henderson broke his hand in the ensuing fight.

Henderson said he was not sure what provoked the attack. However, it seemed to be tied to road rage. Authorities did not release the name of the police officer involved or the 55-year-old suspect. The Burnet County declined to say whether the suspect, who was hospitalized after the attack, had been arrested.

Man battles gunman in Burnet County

Texas man fights gunman in Burnet County

Road rage incidents occur more often than we might think in Texas. On occasions, they turn deadly.

Henderson told the Statesman he was driving with his wife and their 17-year-old son back to their home south of Marble Falls last December. He took his son to a tour for prospective students at the Art Institute of Austin. Henderson said he drove past a red Camaro stopped in the road.

Henderson said the Camaro raced up behind them after they passed it and rammed the Hendersons’ Ford Explorer twice. Genice Henderson was driving. She put her foot on the gas to avoid the Camero driver. Both cars spun off the road, away from each other.

Henderson told the Statesman he then got out of the SUV and walked down the road toward the Camaro. He thought it has been in a serious wreck. Another passing car stopped nearby. Henderson said he spoke to the driver, but was not aware he was an Austin police officer.

He said the Camero then drove up close to him and the driver pulled out a gun. Henderson said he tried to pull the trigger. However, the gun didn’t fire.

His wife and son had a few moments to hide in the bushes.  Henderson said the Camero driver then opened fire.

The driver of the other car then approached and yelled that he was an off-duty police officer. He ordered the driver of the Camaro to drop his gun.

Henderson said the two men then exchanged gunfire. Henderson said the shooter was injured but continued to crawl toward the bushes where his wife and child were hiding.

Henderson, who is a personal trainer and former MMA fighter and boxer then jumped on the shooter and beat him unconscious.

Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley said after the incident, what transpired on the road highlights how police officers are never really off duty.

We note on our website how assault can be a serious offense in Texas. However, self-defense can be a defense. If you have been charged with an offense, call our Austin criminal defense attorneys for experienced representation at (512) 474-4445.

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