Texas Stand Your Ground Law
Texas has a self-defense law in place known as the Stand Your Ground Law. Essentially, this law justifies the use of force against someone when the actor believes it is necessary to protect against someone else’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. Self-defense can be difficult to prove. You may be eligible for compensation from someone else’s insurance company if you were intentionally injured and the Stand Your Ground law does not apply.
What Is the Stand Your Ground Law in Texas?
Texas Penal Code 9.31 states that a person is justified in using force against someone else when this action is presumed to be reasonable to protect the actor against the other person’s use of unlawful force. The use of force is also justified in the defense of others. The use of force can include physical assault or assault with a deadly weapon, depending on the scenario.
The use of deadly force is only justified if the actor reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to protect against deadly force or to prevent murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated kidnapping or other serious crimes as listed in Sections 9.32, 9.33 and 9.34. The Stand Your Ground Law applies to occupied habitations, vehicles, and places of business or employment.
When Is it Legal to Use Force Against Someone? When Is it Illegal?
In general, it is legal to use force against someone else if the actor has reason to believe that his or her safety, health or property (or the safety of others) is in imminent risk of harm. Many elements must be fulfilled, however, for a situation to meet the requirements of the Texas Stand Your Ground Law. The individual against whom the force was used must have been unlawfully and with force entering or attempting to enter the actor’s property, for example, or been attempting to commit a serious crime.
The use of force against someone is not legal or justified in Texas in response to verbal provocation alone, in an attempt to resist arrest, if the actor consented to the other’s use of force, or if the actor provoked the other person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force (with some exceptions). It is also not allowed if the actor sought an explanation from the other person while he or she was carrying a weapon. Finally, if someone has the right to be at the location and is not engaged in criminal activity, the actor cannot use force.
Can You Sue Someone for Injuring You in Alleged Self-Defense?
The Texas Stand Your Ground Law is long and complex. Although it permits the use of force, including deadly force, against someone in certain circumstances, there are specific parameters that must be met for it to be justified. In many cases, an individual attacks someone else and claims it was self-defense, only for an investigation to show that the requirements of the Stand Your Ground Law were not met.
If you were attacked or injured by someone else in Texas who is claiming that they used force against you in self-defense or defense of others, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine your right to file a civil lawsuit. If the Stand Your Ground Law does not apply, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the actor in pursuit of financial compensation for your related medical bills, lost wages, property repairs, and pain and suffering. This includes if the actor injured you in a fit of road rage or by striking you with his or her vehicle.
If, however, the Stand Your Ground Law does apply and the actor was justified in using force against you, you may not be eligible for compensation. A lawyer will carefully review your situation to determine how the Stand Your Ground Law might be enforced or not enforced. Then, your lawyer can help you understand your right to seek compensation based on the facts of the case. For more information about injuries from assaults, shootings or other acts of violence claimed to fall under the Stand Your Ground Law, contact an attorney at Loewy Law Firm for a free consultation.