Texas Castle Law

What is Castle Doctrine in Texas?

Every state makes their own laws for people present within its borders. Not all state laws allow for the Castle Doctrine. In Texas. person’s home is their castle. A person can use deadly force if they reasonably believe deadly force is immediately necessary under various criteria.

When Can Deadly Force be Used in Texas?

When a person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary it can be used in the following circumstances:

  • A person can use deadly force against the other person’s attempted use or use of deadly force
  • To prevent a person’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, aggravated robbery (bodily injury caused during theft while using a deadly weapon or serious bodily injury caused during a theft)
  • Against someone unlawfully and forcefully attempting to enter or entering another person’s home, vehicle or employment.
  • Against someone unlawfully or forcefully attempting to remove or removing a person from their home, vehicle, or employment.
  • Against someone who was unprovoked
  • Can be used if the person using it is not involved in criminal behavior higher than a Class C misdemeanor.

Is There a Duty to Retreat in Texas?

In Texas “stand your ground law” there is no duty to retreat from a location where the person has a right to be. Also the person using force to the degree he or she believes reasonably necessary cannot have provoked the the other person or be committing criminal activity above a class C misdemeanor.

Again the force may be deadly force when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary.

Can You Use Self Defense Against a Police Officer?

Generally speaking, under Texas Penal Code 9.31, it is not legal to resist an arrest or search by a police officer even if the arrest or search is unlawful. But the use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified if before resisting, the police uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary. The actor may use force to resist to the reasonable degree necessary to protect against the peace officer using greater force than necessary.

Defense of Others Law

Can you use deadly force to protect someone else?

Yes a person can use deadly force against another to protect a third person. The person using force must reasonably believe he or she would be justified in using deadly force to protect against unlawful force or unlawful deadly force. Also the person protecting the 3rd person must reasonably believe that intervention is immediately necessary to protect the person.

Put another way, so long as the person using deadly force to protect the third person reasonably believes that the third person would be justified in using deadly force to protect themselves.

Can You Use Deadly Force to Protect Property in Texas?

Yes. A property owner can protect land and tangible movable property. This is when and to the degree there is a reasonable belief deadly force is immediately necessary such as preventing imminent commission of the following:

  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Theft during the nighttime
  • Criminal Mischief during the nighttime

Or prevent someone fleeing after committing one of the above listed crimes. And the person protecting the property reasonably believes that the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means. Deadly force is allowed when the actor’s use of less than lethal force would risk substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Can I Use Force to Protect Another Person’s Property?

Yes protecting another person’s property is allowed as if the property was his or her own and under the circumstances above. There must be a reasonable belief that the 3rd person requested his or her protection or a legal duty to protect it.

Can I use a Device to Protect Property?

Yes a device is allowed to protect land or tangible movable property if it is not known by the installer that it is designed to cause or create a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death. The device must be reasonable under the circumstances known to the person installing the device.

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Author: Eric Torberson

Eric Torberson is a licensed attorney in Texas as well as licensed in the federal courts of the southern and western districts of Texas.