With 31 states now having written laws that protect citizens, many may wonder how can the Texas Castle Doctrine protect you when you defend your family. The law took specific steps to assure you will be much more protected if, God forbid, something should ever cause you to have to take violent actions to protect yourself, family or property. The concept behind the law is nothing new.
Many states have on their books clauses in state laws that are known by various names like the Colorado “Make My Day Law”, based on the infamous line from the Clint Eastwood movie, “Sudden Impact”. Other names include the descriptions including terms like or “No Duty To Retreat” or habitation defense clauses.
The most common expression we are all probably familiar with is, “A man’s home is his castle.” This has it’s roots in ancient writings that have been carried throughout the centuries. In the Torah, or the Old Testament in the Bible, it is expressed in Exodus 22:2-3 that clearly stated that death could very well be the consequence for those sneaking into people’s homes in the dead of night.
It was Cicero who wrote, “What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man’s own home?” Exodus in the Bible clearly spells out the consequences for those that took to sneaking into people’s homes in the middle of the night.
Some states took an somewhat opposite stance and required homeowners to observe a ‘duty-to-retreat’. Basically, one would be required to take the responsibility to get away from a perceived threat first and then ‘announce’ to the burglar that possible violent or deadly force may be used against them. Then the laws may be further complicated by exactly what amounted to as an announcement. It could range from the sound of a gun being cocked, a laser being aimed, or a voice command.
These laws basically leave it to law enforcement officials and court systems to decide if any force used was appropriate. On top of those possible consequences, you could be held libel in a civil lawsuit if an intruder were injured or killed.
Texas law-makers took it upon themselves to help prevent that nightmare scenario from occurring to it’s law abiding citizens. They removed the obligations requiring you to retreat first and included the right to defend yourself at work and in your vehicle.
The specific situations in which deadly force could be used were clearly defined. A building or vehicle would have to be occupied prior to any action being taken. It also prohibits any provocation leading to violence. The defender must not be involved in any criminal activity at the time. It also made it possible for law enforcement officials to take action against anyone they feel used deadly force in any illegal manner.
Probably the most far-reaching aspect as to how can the Texas Castle Doctrine protect you when you defend your family is the law prohibits any civil liabilities if deadly force caused injury or death to another under the bill’s provisions. That protects you and your family even further, after the fact.
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