Texas’ self-defense law goes back to 1973. When shooting an attacker in self-defense, you had to justify that anyone in your situation could not have avoided the violent act by moving to a safe place. Your only option was a forceful defense; the requirement was known as “retreat to the wall.”
In 1995, Texas laws added a “castle doctrine,” which implied that an individual did not need to run away if they were defending their home or property. The law expended twelve years later in 2007, when the Texas Legislature changed the measure to state that individuals were not obligated to retreat. The only thing they needed to prove is if they had a legal right to be present during the act of defense. This policy is called the “Stand Your Ground” law.
Twenty-seven states currently have codified this law, and about twelve more are following the law practice.
Texas’ self-defense law has improved and allows the use of force during criminal wrongdoing, but only at night.
If you decide to carry a gun for self-defense, check what weapons are legal in your state.
Some states do not allow every weapon, so if you find yourself shooting an attacker in self-defense with, let’s say an automatic gun (which may be illegal in your state) may not prevent you from charges even though you have every prove that it was self-defense.
Even if you were allowed to self-defense, you might still face charges for carrying an illegal weapon. In situations like this, you’ll need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney in Texas.
You Must Prove it Was Self Defense
Although it sounds like the best way to save you from prison, self-defense law won’t give you the easiest time.
If you shot a person in self-defense, expect to be arrested and questioned later.
In most criminal proceedings, the prosecution should prove self-defense. They have to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed a crime.
This applies if the case gets to court.
Self-Defense Cases Sometimes Never Make it to Trial
Self-defense or justified homicides between citizens are not that common, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Based on a website that posts about firearms culture, in 2015, there were 146 self-defense shootings nationwide, and only twelve people faced charges. The most shootings occurred in Texas (45 self-defense incidents), and only two people were charged.
For example, a person will not face charges if they shoot in self-defense if someone is stealing their car.
What Happens after Shooting an Attacker in Self-Defense?
If you happen to shoot in self-defense, you should know several things. First of all, the police will arrive within ten minutes. During that time, everything you do will affect your further life.
If there is no other threat for your safety and life, holster your weapon to show the police that you are not a threat to them.
If it is possible, ask another person to call the police. Why is this important? It is better to have someone who is not in a shock to call the police; it would be better not to have a voice recording while you are in a stressful moment. The dispatch operators will keep you on the phone a little longer, so they can get as much information as possible.
Later, the tape will be played in your case. It is a good way not to give the prosecutor a chance to use it against you.
Seek Medical Help
No matter if you are hurt or not, ask someone else (if possible) to call an ambulance. Your attacker would surely need medical help.
This is the right way to show that you are caring for human life, even though you had to pick the harshest self-defend measure.
If there are witnesses, don’t tell them what happened. People will ask you a million questions, but make sure you don’t talk. You are still in shock. Keep in mind that every witness will be asked to testify. Whatever happens, after you shoot, becomes a piece of evidence – your words, your behavior, people you spoke to, everything.
Do Not Touch the Crime Scene
So it happened – now get yourself together and do not touch anything. The law is not requiring you to give medical aid to your attacker. You can face penalties for tampering with the crime scene. Sure, it would be odd to get away from the scene, but it is the best thing to do.
A criminal defense law office in Texas will take your case and help you with your defense. Call our office today and schedule your first consultation.