How Do I Use Self-Defense As a Defense?

How Do I Use Self-Defense As a Defense?
Nov 18, 2022 |

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been arrested for assault or another violent crime after protecting yourself from danger, you need to understand the legal definition of self-defense and how to argue your case effectively. Continue reading to learn more and get information on how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

Defining Legal Self-Defense

Generally speaking, self-defense is justified when a person reasonably believes that they are in danger of unlawful force and they use a proportionate amount of force to defend themselves. In some cases, a person may even be able to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that their life is in danger.

However, there are some limitations on self-defense. For example, a person cannot use self-defense in court if they are the aggressor or if they could have safely avoided the danger.


For self-defense to be considered justified, the threat must be legitimate, or imminent. This means that the person reasonably believes that the threat is about to happen and there is no time for law enforcement to intervene. For example, if someone has their hand on their gun and is pointing it at you in a threatening manner, this would likely be considered an imminent threat.

Factoring In Reasonable Fear

In addition to the threat being imminent, the person must also have a reasonable fear of harm. This means that a reasonable person in the same situation would believe that they are in danger of being harmed.

Factors that may be considered include the severity of the threat, whether or not the threatened individual has any type of weapon, and whether or not the threatened individual has made any violent actions in the past.

The Proportion of Force Used

The amount of force used by the person defending themselves must also be proportional to the perceived threat. For example, if someone appears to only have fists as weapons, using a firearm would likely not be considered a proportional force. However, if someone has a knife and is coming toward you in a threatening manner, using a firearm may be considered proportional, since you could be seriously harmed if the person gets too close.

How a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with a crime and believe that you were acting in self-defense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can help you to understand the applicable laws and defenses, and can also help to gather evidence and witnesses to support your claim. Call our office today at 281.570.6400.

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