The Texas self-defense laws are in place to protect citizens defending themselves and others from imminent harm, but they do not permit the use of deadly force in every situation. If you’re someone who carries a knife as a way to protect yourself, you may be wondering, can you pull a knife on someone in self-defense in Texas?
Under Texas law, the use of deadly force is only allowed in situations where there is an immediate threat of serious injury or death. If a person reasonably believes that they are in danger of being killed, seriously injured, or sexually assaulted, then they may be permitted to use deadly force to protect themselves, including using a knife. Even so, the use of deadly force must be proportionate to the threat.
To avoid finding yourself in a situation where you’re facing criminal charges for defending yourself with a knife, it’s important to educate yourself on Texas self-defense laws to know when you are—and are not—allowed to use your knife in self-defense.
Texas self-defense laws explained
Texas Penal Code 9.31 states that a person is justified in using force against another if they believe that it was necessary to protect themselves or others against the use or attempted use of unlawful force. The use of force may be viewed as necessary if the actor:
- Knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:
- Unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter, the actor’s home, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
- Unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove, the actor from the actor’s home, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
- Was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
- Did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
- Was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than minor traffic offenses, at the time the force was used.
This means that if you reasonably believe that you or those around you are in danger of being killed or seriously injured, then it is lawful for you to use a knife as a weapon to protect yourself. However, it is important to remember that you are only allowed to use force proportional to the threat posed against you and that these laws also apply to self-defense against multiple attackers.
Stand Your Ground Laws in Texas
Texas is a stand your ground state, meaning that you don’t need to retreat first in order to defend yourself. The Stand Your Ground Laws in Texas (Texas Penal Code 9.32) state that a person is justified in using deadly force as long as they are not engaging in criminal activity and they have a right to be present at the location.
This means that if you are attacked or threatened with deadly force and you have a right to be there, then you may be justified in using deadly force in self-defense. This could include pulling out a knife.
Castle Doctrine, or Castle Law in Texas
As per the Castle Doctrine, also known as the Texas Castle Law, the right to use force as a means to protect oneself is strongest when the defense happens at one’s “castle,” in other words, their home, work, or car.
The castle doctrine in Texas is a combination of Texas Penal Codes 9.31 and 9.32 and it states that a person may use deadly force against an intruder if they have reason to believe their home or car is under attack. This includes the right to draw a knife or any other weapon for self-defense.
Is it legal to defend yourself with a knife in Texas?
In Texas, it is legal to defend yourself with a knife if you are in fear of imminent harm or death. You are also allowed to use deadly force if there is an immediate threat of serious injury or death and it is proportionate to the threat posed against you. It is also lawful for you to use a knife if you are protecting yourself in your home or car.
However, it is important to remember that the laws around self-defense in Texas can be complex and depend on your ability to prove that you had a reasonable belief that you were in real danger. It is always best to seek legal advice from an assault defense attorney in Fort Worth after you find yourself in a situation where self-defense was necessary.
When is self-defense with a knife not justified?
Self-defense isn’t always a lawful justification for using a knife or other weapon. Self-defense is not permitted if you are the initial aggressor or if you use more force than was necessary to defend yourself. For instance, if you were verbally provoked but weren’t otherwise put in danger, it would likely be unlawful to use a knife.
It is important to note that while Texas does allow the use of deadly force in certain instances, it should always be used as a last resort. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges for self-defense such as assault or even murder, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced assault or murder lawyer to make sure that your rights and interests are protected.
Continue reading: What counts as murder in self-defense?
What happens if you stab someone in self-defense?
Let’s say you stabbed someone with a knife in an effort to defend yourself from what you perceived as unlawful force. Because self-defense is an affirmative defense to an assault or homicide charge in Texas, the burden of proof will initially be on you and your lawyer, but will then shift to the prosecution, who will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not act in self-defense.
If it can be proven that you acted in justifiable self-defense, then you can avoid a criminal conviction. However, if the jury determines that you used excessive or unwarranted force, then you may face a criminal conviction for assault, aggravated assault, manslaughter, or murder.
Facing charges for defending yourself with a knife? Contact Westfall Sellers for help.
So, can you pull a knife on someone in self-defense in Texas? In certain situations, yes. It is important to remember that any use of a knife or other weapon in self-defense must be justifiable under the state’s laws.
If you’ve been charged with a crime for using a knife in self-defense, then it is absolutely crucial that you hire the best criminal defense attorney in the Fort Worth/Dallas area, like the attorneys at Westfall Sellers.
Our experienced legal team has successfully defended clients in cases of self-defense and is here to help you build an iron-clad defense. We understand the complexities of Texas self-defense laws and know how to effectively argue your case in trial.
Don’t wait any longer. You need our help and you need it fast. Call Westfall Sellers today at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
More Helpful Articles by Westfall Sellers: