Most people would agree that murder is among the most severe criminal charges that you could face. The state of Texas takes homicide charges quite seriously and can even sometimes impose the death penalty for those convicted in court.
If you find yourself accused of a murder but you were only trying to defend yourself, you probably hope to raise a self-defense claim if you have to go to court. You may have heard or read about the Castle Doctrine or Stand-Your-Ground laws. Knowing the difference between the two is crucial when you start planning your defense strategy.
The Castle Doctrine has to do with the protection of property
People say that every person’s home is their castle, which is, in part, where the phrase Castle Doctrine comes from. It refers to the Texas law that gives a property owner the right to use force to defend their property or their home, particularly during a home invasion.
There is no duty to retreat before using physical force as there is in certain other states. You can even use lethal force if necessary to protect your home from those who would harm you or deprive you of your property.
Stand-Your-Ground laws apply to the defense of people
If you intend to invoke the Stand-Your-Ground law after an act of self-defense, that means you acted to protect yourself or someone else from an immediate threat.
As with the Castle Doctrine, when you perceive someone as posing a threat of bodily harm to you or someone else, you don’t have to retreat before you use physical force or draw your legal firearm. You can stand your ground and use even fatal f if necessary to protect yourself or someone else from imminent bodily harm.
Self-defense claims are usually affirmative defenses. You will need to go to court and admit that you did effectively take the life of another person. However, you will construct a narrative to help demonstrate why you took those actions and how Texas law authorizes that behavior.
Understanding the rules that apply in criminal cases makes it easier to defend against even the most serious of criminal charges in Texas, such as murder allegations.