Homicide Self-Defense: Lawful Deadly Force – Criminal Defense Attorney.

Murder and Homicide Criminal Defense Attorneys - Self-Defense
  • Former Harris County Prosecutor – Homicide Division
  • Former Homicide Defense Attorney for the Houston Police Union.
  • Board Certified Criminal Defense Specialist – Murder Defense
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If you are being investigated for or have been accused of Murder, contact our Houston Homicide Criminal Defense Attorneys to learn how, together, we can defeat the criminal charges. 

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Houston Homicide Criminal Defense Attorneys: “I did it, but it was in self-defense.”

As a murder criminal defense attorney, there are a number of homicide defenses such as: unintentional, reckless, sudden passion, etc., however the most common and often successful defense is self-defense. Under Texas law, self-defense can be in defense of yourself or in defense of another person.

Texas Penal Code 9.31, Self-Defense:

(a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.

The actor’s belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:

(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:
(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;  or
(C) was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
(2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used;  and
(3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

(b) The use of force against another is not justified:
(1) in response to verbal provocation alone;
(2) to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful, unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c);
(3) if the actor consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other;
(4) if the actor provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless:
(A) the actor abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter;  and
(B) the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the actor;  or
(5) if the actor sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning the actor’s differences with the other person while the actor was:
(A) carrying a weapon in violation of Section 46.02;  or
(B) possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Section 46.05.

(c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified:
(1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search;  and
(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.

(d) The use of deadly force is not justified under this subchapter except as provided in Sections 9.32, 9.33, and 9.34.

(e) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before using force as described by this section.

(f) For purposes of Subsection (a), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (e) reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.

Texas Penal Code, 9.32, Deadly-Force in Defense of Person:

(a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:
(1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31;  and
(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force;  or
(B) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

(b) The actor’s belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:
(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:
(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;  or
(C) was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Subsection (a)(2)(B);
(2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used;  and
(3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

(c) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.

“There was no other choice.”

With self-defense there is no room for middle ground. The facts must convey that the decision to kill was solely to protect yourself or someone else’s life. The Adamo & Adamo law firm has the resources to accomplish this via a thorough investigation. Our homicide attorneys and homicide investigators will know the facts of the homicide and interview scene witnesses, take scene photographs, interview witnesses who knew the deceased, pull criminal records and court documents, search social media, interview character witnesses, review police department standard operating procedures (as to investigative techniques and the use of deadly force), and much more!

A qualified and dedicated homicide attorney will want to know what happened  as well as all relevant background material on what led to the homicide. Including, but not limited to:

  • Social history (i.e. family background, schooling, employment history, community involvement);
  • Medical History (both physical and mental and any record of substance abuse);
  • Military Experience (i.e. training, weapon handling, combat involvement, awards, dicipline, learned responses to threat or injury, etc.);
  • Previous Experience with Altercations (i.e. threats, fights, injuries, trauma, history of peacefulneess, etc.);
  • Relationship with Deceased (if any);
  • Deceased prior acts of violence or threats of violence (toward anyone);
  • Gang Affliation of Deceased (if any);
  • Physical Characteristics of Deceased;
  • Deceased reputation in the community (i.e. possession of weapons, ability to fight, violent, etc.);

The Homicide:

  • Alcohol or Drug use;
  • Events leading up to the homicide;
  • Specific account of the homicide itself (in danger, any alternative to killing, escape, 911, etc.);
  • Post Homicide (what was done after, i.e., 911, ambulance, notified others, etc.);
  • Who have you talked to and what have you said;
  • Police Interrogation (what occurred, what was said, why).

With your freedom on the line trust the battle-tested Houston homicide criminal defense attorneys at Adamo & Adamo to deliver high-quality defense results. There is much work to be done, contact us now!