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The Castle Doctrine and the Use of Deadly Force for Self-Defense in Texas

Over the years, I’m asked the most about the castle doctrine and the use of deadly force.

What is the Castle Doctrine?
Castle doctrine comes from a Texas law that was passed in 2007 related to deadly force. It’s not as complicated as you first might think.

Castle doctrine says you are presumed to be reasonable, as long as you didn’t provoke the incident, as well as you’re not in the middle of committing a crime. So, if you are reasonable in your belief that someone is breaking into your home, or if someone is forcibly trying to remove you unlawfully from your home, car, or workplace, the castle doctrine comes into play. It covers your home, your car, and your work. And it says that you’re going to be reasonable, and you’re not going to have to prove through asserting a preponderance of the evidence back to the government.

How is Texas Different?

Now let’s talk about a couple of examples because Texas is unique in how they define a home. Texas defines a home as a habitation. So a habitation is your home itself where you’re sleeping, but it does not cover your garage if it’s not connected to your home. It does not cover your outhouse or a shed or where you might keep gardening or lawn equipment. It does not include your home office if it is not connected to your main homestead. Believe it or not, the architectural plans and the makeup of your house would be extremely relevant if you were trying to figure out whether the castle doctrine and the use of deadly force defense applies.

If you have any questions about this issue, God forbid that problem ever happens to you personally. But if it does, we are here to help. We have lots of experience in this area of force and deadly force and would be happy to answer any questions. Please reach out to attorney Steve Toland or us at Peek & Toland.


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