The issue of using self defense comes up in assault, aggravated assault, and murder cases quite often. Texas, along with all other states, recognizes that a person can use self defense under the right circumstances. People also often ask, “ Can I use self defense to protect my property?” The answer is yes if the facts show self defense was reasonable under the circumstances.
Texas has a very liberal self defense law. The law gives a person strong presumptions if they are defending themselves from an unlawful attack, if they are in their home, vehicle or business. The Texas self defense laws also give Texans strong self defense rights when protecting their property. There are a few basic requirements that need to be met when a person uses force to protect property which are found in sections 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43 of the Texas Penal Code.
The first requirement is that the the person using force must have a lawful possession of the property and that they have a reasonable belief that force immediately necessary to stop a person from entering their land or taking their property. The law also allows a person to chase down a person and use force to get their property back if they have a reasonable belief force is immediately necessary to recover the property. The person using force must also have a reasonable belief that the person who took their property had no legal right to the property.
A person can even use deadly force to defend property if he has a reasonable belief deadly force is immediately necessary to prevent a person from committing arson, burglary, aggravated robbery, theft during night time, or criminal mischief at night time. The law also allows a person to use deadly force if to stop a person from fleeing with their property if they have a reasonable belief the property can not be protected or recovered any other way and any force less than deadly force would expose the owner to substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
So the answer to the question, Can I use self defense to protect my property is yes if your actions are viewed as reasonable. This is a strong self defense law but that doesn’t mean the police won’t charge you with a criminal offense. Especially if a life is taken. If the police don’t make an arrest right away they may send the case to a grand jury as a referral. It is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that the facts can be developed to defend you against a criminal charge.