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About the Stand Your Ground Law in Texas

May 06, 2016 by Cogdell Law Firm

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Texas passed a stand your ground law in 2007, which allows for the use of force “when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.”

Prior to the enactment of that law, the use of deadly force was not justified in Texas if retreat was possible.  Now, Texas law requires that prosecutors must prove that the use of deadly force was not self-defense instead of a defendant having to prove his or her claim of self-defense under the stand-your-ground statute.

Under Texas law, you can shoot someone if you reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to protect yourself from being killed or seriously injured.  You also have the right to shoot someone if there is a threat of certain crimes like kidnapping or sexual assault.  You also have no responsibility to retreat if you have the right to be where you are -- for example, in your home, your vehicle or at work -- and may use deadly force to stop “aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.”

In addition, Texas law has an unusual provision that gives you the right to use deadly force to prevent someone “who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property.”

However, Texas’ self-defense laws do not allow a person to use deadly force in reaction to verbal abuse or if a person has instigated the confrontation.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal.  When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at 713-426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.