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Can self-defense be effective against an assault charge?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2020 | Criminal Defense

If you face assault charges, you will need to prepare a defense that will allow you to show the court you were within your rights and that your actions did not qualify as assault. One option to justify your actions is claiming self-defense. 

In some cases, it might be possible to use self-defense as your defense against assault charges, but it depends on the situation and how it stands up to the laws in Texas. 

Burden of proof

According to Houston Public Media, the general rule of self-defense is that you have to provide proof of your claim. In general, the prosecutor has the burden of proof to show you committed a crime, but when it comes to proving a self-defense claim, that burden shifts to you. 

You will have to show that you were reacting to the other person’s threat against you in a reasonable way. It is essential that you provide proof that the other person’s actions were such that if you did not react, you would have suffered an injury. 

Duty to retreat

Self-defense does not require you to retreat. Texas law has gone through several changes when it comes to trying to get away from a situation before it escalates. Currently, the law is a stand your ground type law where you do not have to leave a situation and can react with force. 

You do have to have a legal reason for being at that particular location. For example, if you are at a public bar, you have a legal right to be there, but if you are trespassing on someone else’s property, then you lack the legal right to be there.