Your personal right to freedom ends when your decisions impact other people. For example, you aren’t free to just pick something if it clearly belongs to someone else, just like you aren’t free to use physical violence to get what you want from another person.
Those who touch someone else without permission or who cause bodily harm to another person could easily find themselves facing assault charges under Texas law. However, some situations that might seem like assault on the surface actually involve the justified use of physical force. When do you have the right to use physical force under the law in Texas?
You have the right to use force to protect yourself, someone else or your property
Generally speaking, you do have the right to use physical force in situations where you fear for your own safety or for the safety of other people. You can also use physical force to stop someone from stealing your property.
It’s important to note that if you intend to claim self-defense, you could not have been the one who initiated the physical aggression. The other party must threaten you or make contact with you first before your physical force constitutes self-defense.
You may have to go to court to prove you acted in self-defense
In some cases, self-defense will be obvious to law enforcement because of security camera footage or witness statements that your actions were clearly self-defense or intended in the defense of another person. In those situations, you may not face charges.
However, in scenarios where the other party claims that you started the altercation or where there isn’t objective documentation of what occurred, you may need to go to court and use self-defense claims as an affirmative defense against pending assault charges.
Gathering evidence, controlling your narrative and getting good advice can all go a long way toward the success of a self-defense defense strategy in Texas.