Self-Defense, when is it reasonable?

What is self-defense?

Texas Penal Code section 9.31 says that a person is justified in using deadly force when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary – to protect themselves from another’s use or attempted use of deadly force or to prevent another who is in immediately attempting aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

When is self-defense viable?

As the code explains, there must be a reasonable belief that the deadly force is immediately necessary and if not, there can be no self-defense argument. Take the 5th District Court of appeals case, Rushing v. Texas, for example. In this case, the defendant argued the evidence was clear that she had endured years of physical abuse from the deceased. She claimed to have a self-defense argument because of that history of abuse.

But, the defendant had several different explanations as to why and how she shot the deceased.  She said she shot because she was tired of the deceased jumping on her, then said it was an accident, and finally said it was self-defense. The defendant also argued that the deceased was pushing her when she shot him.

Is past abuse and pushing enough?

The self-defense claim was rejected when evidence showed the defendant questioned an advocate about self-defense before the shooting occurred. The court also explained that even if the deceased pushed the defendant, pushing or shoving a person is not deadly force that would justify using deadly force against a person.

A self-defense claim can get technical quickly and there are a lot of factors to be considered. Call our office today to see if your case can be dismissed based on self-defense.

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