According to the Texas Penal Code, an individual is justified in using
force against another person if the individual has a reasonable belief
that force is necessary to protect themselves from the other person's
use of unlawful force. There is a presumption that this belief is reasonable
under certain circumstances, such as: when the other person has illegally
and forcibly entered the individual's home, place of work or vehicle;
or when the other person was committing or attempting to commit
murder, sexual assault, robbery or other specified violent crimes.
Texas law states that the use of force cannot be justified by self-defense
if the person claiming self-defense was reacting solely to verbal provocation
by the other person. It is not enough that the other person is guilty
of bad behavior; there must be a realistic threat of harm and the person
claiming self-defense must reasonably believe force is necessary for self-protection.
An individual generally cannot claim self-defense if he or she provoked
the other person. Self-defense is also unavailable as a justification
when the individual sought a discussion or explanation from the other
person about a dispute between them, and the individual claiming self-defense
was carrying a weapon at the time.
Texas does not have a duty to retreat in its self-defense law. As long
as a person has a legal right to be at the location, and the other requirements
of the self-defense law are met, they are not required to retreat before
Whether a claim of self-defense will be successful in a criminal trial
will depend on the facts of the specific case. Texas criminal defense
attorneys can help those who are accused of violent crimes to understand
how the law may apply to their circumstances.
Source: Tex. Penal Code Â§ 9.31, accessed June 27, 2015