Collin County Castle Doctrine Defense Lawyers

Have you been investigated or arrested in Texas because you were defending your family from a home invasion? As a Texan, you’re allowed to protect your home and the people you love. Texas enforces the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws, which allow you to defend yourself, your family, and your property. If you face charges for using unnecessary force while defending yourself, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced Collin County Castle Doctrine defense lawyer.

With a criminal conviction, you can face jail time and much more. A criminal record affects job applications, applying for loans, and even child custody arrangements. The attorneys at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian will aggressively fight to protect your freedom, rights, and reputation. You should not be punished for standing your ground.

What Is the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Law?

With these laws, Texas has created some of the nation’s most vigorous self-defense and defense of property laws.

The Castle Doctrine allows you to use force to defend yourself, your family, and your property from an unlawful intruder. It generally applies to self-defense situations in your own home. The doctrine is rooted in the idea that your home is your sanctuary or “castle.” You have the right to protect your castle.

The Texas Stand Your Ground law says you do not have a duty to retreat when someone attacks you or a third person. You have the right to stand your ground and confront the attacker. The rationale behind Stand Your Ground is your right to self-defense when faced with immediate danger of being killed or seriously injured. Imminent danger involves a situation that demands immediate action, such as someone pointing a gun at you.

The Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground law are intertwined legal principles that can apply to the same incident. The Texas Penal Code (Sections 9.31, 9.32, and 9.33) outlines circumstances when a person can use force or deadly force in self-defense or while defending others.

Key provisions include:

  • Use of force is justifiable if you reasonably believe it is immediately necessary to protect yourself or someone else from an intruder’s unlawful force.
  • Use of deadly force is justified if you have a reasonable belief that it is necessary to protect yourself or someone else from:
    • Imminent death
    • Serious bodily injury
    • To prevent a violent crime, such as murder, aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, or robbery.

Does the Castle Doctrine Protect Me at Work?

Yes. The Castle Doctrine extends to your workplace or business. It also applies to vehicles that you use regularly for transportation. Vehicles are your property. This includes:

  • Trucks
  • Cars
  • RVs
  • ATVs
  • Golf carts
  • Planes

Are There Exceptions to the Castle Doctrine?

Yes. The Castle Doctrine does not apply if the person using force provoked the attack or is the aggressor.

The Castle Doctrine does not apply if the person using force is engaged in criminal activity at the time. However, the person using force may be able to claim self-defense to lessen their punishment for the criminal activity.

Duty to Retreat and Stand Your Ground

In Texas, you don’t have to flee if someone attacks you. You can stand your ground under the law.

For example, if someone pulls a knife on you while standing in your driveway, you don’t have to run inside. As a Texan, you can confront the person and stand your ground.

Essentially, Texas law removes your duty to retreat before using deadly force if:

  • You are in a location where you have the right to be.
  • You are not engaged in criminal activity.
  • You did not provoke the situation and are not the aggressor.

Generally, under the Texas Stand Your Ground law, a person does not have to retreat on their own property.

What Is Reasonable?

The question of what is “reasonable” force is based on the facts. A judge or jury decides what is reasonable. Using force against someone for words alone is never considered reasonable.

However, there are instances where the law presumes that the use of force was reasonable. Under The Castle Doctrine in Texas, using force is reasonable when another person:

  • Forcibly and unlawfully tries to enter or enters your home, vehicle, or workplace
  • Attempts to remove you, by force, from your home, vehicle, or workplace
  • Commits or attempts to commit murder, aggravated kidnapping, robbery, aggravated robbery, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault

A judge or jury cannot use your decision not to retreat against you when considering whether you reasonably believed you needed to use deadly force.

The presumption of reasonableness may make it easier to avoid criminal charges or justify your actions.

When Is Deadly Force Justified?

In Texas, deadly force generally means force intended or known to cause death or serious bodily injury.

A person can use deadly force when he reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to:

  • Protect against another’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force
  • Prevent an aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

Texas law does not prohibit the use of deadly force in defense of another person. However, the use of deadly force is only justifiable if it is used to thwart the use of deadly force. Since you are justified in matching the degree of force threatened, you can use deadly force to protect a third person from deadly force.

For example, your friend gets into a verbal argument with a man at a bar. The man charges at your friend, brandishing a knife. You believe the man is about to attack your friend with deadly force. You may be justified in using deadly force to stop the man.

Is Deadly Force Justified to Protect Property?

Generally, a person may use force, but not deadly force, to protect property. There are exceptions. You may use deadly force to protect property if you reasonably believe it is immediately necessary to prevent:

  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Robbery and aggravated robbery
  • Theft at night
  • Criminal mischief at night
  • Someone fleeing with your property after committing the above

You must show that you reasonably believed the property could not be protected by any other means. You must also show that using non-deadly force would cause a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Verbal Threats Are Not Enough to Allow the Use of Deadly Force

You cannot shoot someone on your property just because they said something you don’t like or even threatened you verbally. If the person says, “I’m going to kill you,” that does not justify using deadly force. But, if the person says, “I’m going to kill you,” while pointing a gun at you, that’s different. The person can cause immediate injury or death, and deadly force may be justified.

Contact a Collin County Stand Your Ground Attorney

If you face criminal charges for defending yourself, a Collin County criminal defense lawyer can offer valuable information and resources to help. A valid self-defense claim can justify your actions against the attacker. We’ll listen to your side of the story, not just the police’s version. We’ll investigate the facts so we can build the best strategic defense. The attorneys at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian will stand by you and protect your freedom. Contact us online for more information or call (972) 369-0577 today.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : March 27, 2024