Posted on 8/19/19

When someone threatens you, your family, or your property, it is only natural to want to defend against that threat. Thanks to the approval ofHouse Bill 446, Texans will be able to utilize brass knuckles and similar weapons in self-defense beginning on September 1, 2019. Previously, possessing brass knuckles could have resulted in up to a year in jail or a fine up to $4,000.

While theexpansion of your defense options may keep you safe, acting in self-defense could still result in criminal charges. The person against whom you defended yourself may decide to press assault charges against you. This may feel like adding insult to your injury, but no matter how ridiculous the accusation may seem to you, the charges are extremely serious.

What is Self-Defense?

In Texas,self-defense is defined as a reasonable use of force that you believed necessary to defend yourself, your property, or others in the area. The law even permits the use ofdeadly force if you reasonably believed that force to be necessary. The key to self-defense is a reasonable belief that you needed to act.

You have the right to defend yourself using reasonable force when you fear for yourself or others, but this does not mean that you can always count on self-defense as a defense. The law prohibits claiming self-defense in certain circumstances. Self-defense of any degree is not permitted as a defense in court if:

  • It was a response only to verbal provocation

  • You provoked the plaintiff

  • You were engaged in criminal activity other than a traffic offense

  • It is used against a police officer acting within the line of duty

Some states require that you attempt to retreat prior to using any form of force. However, Texas is what is commonly known as a “stand your ground” state in which you do not need to retreat so long as you are legally present there.

Proving Self-Defense

Be aware that claiming self-defense as a defense in your criminal trial is not simple. Typically, the burden is on the prosecution to prove facts of a case, and that is still true of the assault charges. However, the burden will be on you to show that you were, in fact, acting in self-defense. This can quickly become a “he said, she said” situation. You will need to work with your attorney to build clear proof that your version of events is true. This proof could include:

  • Witness statements

  • Video surveillance

  • Police reports

This evidence must show not only that your actions were self-defense, but that you did not provoke the attack in any way. Any provocation or overreaction on your part will negate your self-defense, and the prosecution will work to show that this was the case.

Contact an Attorney

If you are facing assault charges as a result of defending yourself, you need the attorneys atAbel Law Firm on your side. You have a right to defend yourself, but assault cases can be complicated, so do not attempt to represent yourself.

(image courtesy of Quinn Buffing)

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