Houston, TX asked in Criminal Law and Wrongful Death for Texas

Q: Can someone who is out on bond and is the aggressor shoot and kill someone without a weapon and claim self defense?

Self defense?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The law of self-defense is very technical and fact-specific so it is not possible to give accurate answers to general questions. Reasonable attorneys can disagree even after reviewing the same evidence and interviewing the same witnesses. However, reasonable doubt on the matter means the defendant can't be convicted.

Anyone can attempt to use the self defense justification, but it is only a defense to prosecution if meets all the requirements of Texas Penal Code 9.32 for the use of deadly force or 9.31 for less-than-deadly force.

Was the person in question the "aggressor" in the original case for which they are out on bond, or in the later shooting incident? In the former situation is would be largely irrelevant except as pertains to credibility. In the latter situation, it could be pivotal because a person who "provokes" a fight can't succeed on a self defense justification unless he first clearly communicates his intent to abandon the encounter but the other persists in using unlawful force giving the provocateur no safe choice.

Also, there are times when the use of deadly force is presumed reasonable where the benefit of presumption can be lost due to the person provoking the use of force.

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