Is Self-Defense Considered Assault?

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Texas, just like the rest of the United States, has its own set of laws pertaining to self-defense. There are certain criteria in place that allows a person to take reasonable measures to protect themselves or their loved ones if they face imminent harm. Generally speaking, it’s important to have a better understanding of self-defense to know whether it can be considered assault.

What is Self-Defense?

Self-defense is described as using force or violence against another person when they are using or threatening to use force or violence against you or someone else. However, this is not always black and white. The question of what is considered an appropriate level of force or violence while using self-defense can come up. Additionally, there may also be a question about what constitutes a reasonable threat that leads to the act of self-defense.

Imminent Threat

By law, self-defense is justified when the use of violence or force is used when there is an imminent threat. Surprisingly, the threat can even be verbal if it results in the would-be victim being placed in fear of immediate physical danger. If the verbiage does not include a threat of physical harm, self-defense would not be justified and would instead be considered assault.

Reasonable Fear of Harm

In some cases, self-defense is valid even if the aggressor didn’t mean any actual harm. If the individual had a reasonable fear of harm and reacted the same way as any reasonable person would, it could be justified.

An example of a reasonable fear of harm is two people who are complete strangers standing on the street near each other. One person notices a mosquito on the other person’s arm. To be nice, that person tries to swat away the mosquito. The individual with the mosquito on their arm notices the stranger about to swat and perceives it as an attempt to assault them and hits the person’s hand away.

Although the first person was not intending harm and was trying to be nice by swatting away the mosquito, legally, this would be seen as self-defense due to the other person’s perception of reasonable fear or harm.

Duty to Retreat

Self-defense laws also include what is known as a duty to retreat. This means the person using self-defense must wait for the would-be perpetrator to back away before using force or violence.

Castle Doctrine

Castle doctrine gives people the right to use deadly force against someone who trespasses into their home. Someone unlawfully entering another’s home is typically a legitimate reason to have an imminent fear of harm.

If you are in Texas and have acted in self-defense but need legal representation, you need the Law Office of John Venza on your side. The Texas criminal defense attorney will build a strong defense in your favor.

Contact a Texas criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of John Venza today (281) 817-8737 to discuss your case.

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