Can you go to jail for self defense in Texas?

Are you facing murder charges in Texas? Were you charged with the crime even though you were defending yourself? If you want to protect your rights and minimize subsequent legal consequences, you might be able to fight the charges against you if you acted in self defense.


Self defense can be a viable legal defense against murder charges in some cases. Self defense is defined as an individual’s right to use force in defense of oneself if he or she reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary that another individual intends to cause bodily harm or death. (It is outlined in greater detail in the Texas State Penal Code.)


“…a person is justified in using force against another 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.”

~ from Texas Penal Code § 9.31


In the state of Texas, self defense can be used as a defense against murder. It falls under what many may know as the castle doctrine, also known as the “stand your ground” law, and can apply when someone kills another while attempting to protect persons or property. The law states that there is no duty to retreat from an individual in any place where one’s presence is legal. Moreover, it clarifies that if one is attacked there, he or she has the legal right to use physical force to personally defend himself or herself (or other persons) against the attacker.


“The common law principle of “castle doctrine” says that individuals have the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home. This principle has been codified and expanded by state legislatures.”


Note that there are some limits when it comes to claiming self defense to fight murder charges in Texas. Aside from the requirement of being in a location legally, one also must not have provoked the aggression or attack and must be afraid of suffering a life-threatening injury or death at the hands of the attacker. Citing the “stand your ground” law as a defense can get complicated, so it is important to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney to help you build a solid case.


If you or a loved one is facing murder charges in Texas, you should seek legal assistance from a lawyer with experience handling these serious cases. A competent, professional criminal defense attorney like Brian Erskine understands the ins and outs of the legal system and will use that knowledge as he defends you. The skilled legal counsel at Erskine Law is ready to represent you with a strong defense. Brian Erskine has years of success defending clients against a variety of charges, including murder; he is committed to helping his clients reach the best possible outcome in their cases. Contact Erskine Law at any time to discuss your situation and the kind of strategy you need to get past it.