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The Texas Castle Doctrine: An Affirmative Defense

by | Jul 16, 2013 | Criminal Defense |

New laws have been passed and are now in effect in the State of Texas, which have a major effect on the evidence you receive, as the Defendant, in your case.

The Texas Castle Doctrine: An Affirmative Defense

The George Zimmerman case in Florida, where 17-year old Treyvon Martin was shot and killed in what a jury found to be justified force by Zimmerman, has sparked debate over whether there should be a “duty to retreat” or “stand your ground” in hostile confrontations.

In Texas, we have what is called the “Castle Doctrine.”

John owns a castle. John can defend his castle with justifiable force. Put simply, force may be justified in defense of self, a third person, or property if reasonable and necessary to protect against another’s use of unlawful force. John does not have a duty to retreat if (1) John has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used (2) John did not provoke the person against whom the deadly force is used, and (3) John is not engaged in criminal activity at the time deadly force is used.

The provisions of Texas Penal Code Sections 9.21 – 9.43 relate to the affirmative defenses of Necessity, Self-Defense and Justifiable Force. They are extensive with many caveats to this basic concept, so to be fully informed, one should review these Penal Code provisions with a fine-toothed comb.