When you leave your house, you have a reasonable expectation that the people in your community will treat you with a degree of respect and avoid threatening you or your property. As we all know, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Whether you’re prepared at all times to defend yourself or actively avoid conflict, there may be a time when violence is the only option. It’s completely understandable to defend yourself from a random stranger, or even a family member, but every circumstance is different and your case may not be as cut-and-dried as you think. In any scenario involving the police, you should always have a lawyer.
What Is Self-Defense?
It seems self-explanatory, but self-defense is more complicated in the legal world. At its core, self-defense refers to the legal right to use force to protect oneself or others from harm. In Texas, this is often called the “stand your ground” law, which states that you have no duty to retreat if you’re faced with a threat and defend yourself. You can potentially use lethal force if you genuinely believe your life was in danger, such as circumstances involving sexual assault, abduction, or armed robbery. You can also defend yourself if you reasonably believe you are at risk of suffering serious bodily injury. This right, however, is not without limitations and sociological challenges.
Contrary to popular belief, in self-defense cases the lines between “right” and “wrong” aren’t always clear. This happens any time someone is charged with an alleged crime, but is especially complicated if self-defense involves someone’s death. In situations where it’s your word against theirs, and they no longer have the ability to speak on their behalf, get in touch with your lawyer before speaking to law enforcement.
A disturbing truth many people don’t realize is that police jump to conclusions and can get tunnel vision early in an investigation, focusing on who they have decided should have charges filed against them. Studies show that where you live and your race can influence this police bias. Chances are, if police are talking to you about a crime, they’ve made up their mind about who is the aggressing party. Whether they think it’s you or not will be reflected in their report, and when an arrest has been made, don’t let your guard down because it may not be over yet.
Factors That Impact Your Case
Generally speaking, in self-defense cases, the force used must be proportional to the threat. If the response is considered excessive, it can quickly shift the case from self-defense to assault or homicide. The main issue here is that if you’re in danger, you have no idea just how dangerous and unavoidable a situation can be until it’s over. It’s understandable to want to protect your life at any cost.
In a self-defense case, the burden of proof may rest on the defendant to demonstrate that their actions were in self-defense, so cases have to be fought hard and thoroughly. This requires a compelling legal strategy and presentation of evidence. No one should ever assume that the police have done their due diligence, which is why our firm has a specialized investigator who finds witnesses and gathers evidence to make sure no stone is left unturned. Sometimes witnesses are, rightfully, not prepared or willing to discuss the events with police, and may be more cooperative with someone outside of law enforcement with your best interests in mind.
Getting The Right Legal Team
After a conflict, no matter how it turns out, adrenaline is high and it’s normal to feel a little panicked. Whatever happened in your circumstances, your legal team is going to be in your corner, ready to fight for your rights. Never discuss the situation with friends, family, and especially the police before speaking to an attorney.
It’s very possible that the court will find your actions completely justifiable, but in order to protect your chances at the best possible outcome, you must work with an attorney as soon as possible. At the firm of Ryan Brown Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C., we’re passionate about making sure you get a fair trial. Our experienced and dedicated investigator will assist to gather all the facts to ensure the situation is presented accurately. If you or a loved one is in need of immediate legal assistance, call our office at (806) 372-5711, for swift and effective counsel.
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