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What constitutes self-defense in a physical fight in Texas?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

It is against the law to intentionally harm someone else. Those who strike another person may find themselves facing assault charges. In at least some of those cases, the person accused of assault did not commit a crime because they acted in self-defense.

Self-defense claims are popular by those facing allegations of a violent offense, like assault. When does an act of physical violence constitute self-defense and not assault in Texas?

When you act to protect yourself, your property and others

Texas law allows you to use physical force to protect yourself from imminent threats. You can also use physical force to protect other people from someone threatening them. If someone attempts to rob you or breaks into your home, your attempts to protect your property may also constitute self-defense.

In any of these three situations, you could potentially claim self-defense if the police arrest you. However, there are limitations to such claims.

When you instigated the altercation

You don’t necessarily have to wait for someone to hit you first before taking action, but you do need to have a credible fear for your safety or the safety of others. If the other party can prove that you instigated the altercation or hit them first when they posed no threat to you, you will have a hard time proving that you acted in self-defense.

Still, if you intervened to stop a fight or only reacted to prevent someone from hurting you or another person, then your claims of self-defense could help you avoid an assault conviction. Learning more about the laws in Texas can help you defend against pending criminal charges.