Defending Yourself in Texas- Explaining Self-Defense
What is Self-Defense in Texas?
How do you claim self-defense in San Antonio, Texas?
If it was self-defense, how am I getting arrested? If I have been arrested for a crime of violence, can I still claim self-defense? How can a lawyer use a self-defense argument to get a case dismissed or get a client acquitted? This blog post will help answer these and other questions surrounding self-defense in Texas and San Antonio, Texas.
What is Self-Defense?
The law of self-defense is one of the most complicated areas of criminal defense. Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code defines when a person is justified in using force to defend himself or herself. Essentially, a person can use force to defend himself against another’s unlawful use of force. However, the force used to defend must be proportionate (you can’t bring a bazooka to a fistfight), immediately necessary, and it can’t be based on verbal provocation.
Getting arrested for something does not mean that you are guilty of anything. This is especially true when someone is accused of a crime of violence. When police officers respond to a call, and there is a report of violence, they are essentially required to make an arrest. Where is the law that says that? There is none. San Antonio Police Officers, like all other Texas law enforcement officers are sworn to keep the peace. If they believe that violence has occurred and the parties are together when the police officers get there someone is going to jail. This is true even if you explain that you were using self-defense and the police believe it is credible. It is also true, if the person you are accused of assaulting tells the police that you were defending yourself. When the police are called out and violence is alleged if the parties are still together someone is going to jail.
How Do I Explain I was Just Defending Myself?
Chances are, if you are reading this, that you’ve been arrested for a crime of violence. There may be a small possibility that you are reading this waiting for the police to arrive after someone has called the police. If that is the situation do not wait to tell your side of the story. You should leave. Removing yourself from a situation where violence has occurred or will occur is the best possible decision you can make. If the police are already there invoke your right to remain silent. You are probably going to get arrested. But, the chances of you telling your side of the story accurately and in a way that helps you is much lower if you decide to talk to the police while being interrogated. They will not question you fairly and will likely bend or misconstrue your words. Police officers are trained interrogators. You have not received interrogation training. Tell them you are not answering questions. Demand to speak with your lawyer. Be firm. Be polite. Stay silent.
But What do I do? I was Defending Myself!
If you’ve been arrested for a violent crime and you were just defending yourself it is tough to remain silent. It becomes even more difficult when the police arrest you and when they seem to promise that maybe they won’t arrest you if you tell them your side of the story. But when do you get to tell your side of the story? It’s your lawyer’s job. Your lawyer’s job is to advocate for you throughout the criminal justice system. When we have someone accused of a violent crime like Aggravated Assault, Murder, or Domestic Violence we first attempt to get these charges dismissed by advocating on our client’s behalf to the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case. We also use our client’s claim of self-defense to explain the crime to the prosecutors. If this doesn’t work we explain the potential plea bargain to our client and if we cannot accept the bargain we take our case to trial. At trial we prepare our client to testify, or explain the risks of testifying. We ask the judge to instruct the jury on why our client was justified in using force.
If Someone is Accused of Domestic Violence can they Claim Self-Defense?
Domestic violence accusations can be dismissed or you can be exonerated if your lawyer claims you were using self-defense. Remember, if you find yourself in a situation where violence is about to be used or being used you should leave. Self-Defense is a last resort. However, the law as it relates to self-defense does not define the right to use self-defense in terms of gender. Men can defend themselves against women and women can defend themselves against men. The law does not see gender and only considers what is immediately necessary.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Our attorneys have a great deal of experience arguing that our clients should be acquitted because they were justified in using the force they were accused of using. Our reputation as trial lawyers will help you get a better deal or if we cannot reach a plea bargain allow you to have your best chance of getting acquitted at trial. Give us a call so we can begin to help.