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Help! Rape! Using Deadly Force to Defend a Third Party – Texas

Sexual assault stories have dominated the news recently, and we have received many questions about defending others against sexual assault and rape. We reached out to Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor to get the answers to your legal questions on defending a third party against rape and sexual assault.

Emily Taylor: When can you protect a loved one in Texas? The law of defense of others is found in Texas Penal Code 9.33, and applies not only to your loved ones, but to any third party, whether they’re your relation and acquaintances or perfect stranger. You can protect a third party, including those loved ones, if under the circumstances as you reasonably believe them to be; you’d be justified in protecting yourself and you also reasonably believed your intervention is immediately necessary to protect the third person. This means if you see your loved one encountering an attempted murder, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, robbery, or aggravated robbery you may step in and defend them with force or deadly force.

Notice, that the law requires you to reasonably believe the circumstances to constitute one of these attacks. If you’re mistaken as to the situation it doesn’t absolutely mean that you won’t be justified so long as a reasonable person would have also believed that the third party was the victim of an attempted murder, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

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6 comments on “Help! Rape! Using Deadly Force to Defend a Third Party – Texas

    What about Colorado laws on this suject

    Hello. Your information is so informative, thank you. When I took my LCH class in Texas, our instructor used a 3rd person case scenario.

    The individual, hiking in a park, heard a woman screaming rape. The hiker found the couple, she was struggling on the ground with the assailant on top of her. Hiker shoots a lethal shot , kills the assailant. The female and assailant were role playing, (really?) they were a legitimate couple , it did not appear that way . The female sues the hiker. I don’t know the outcome. Does Texas Law Shield help in these bizarre lawsuit cases , and how? I’ll step up to protect a 3rd party victim, but this burns in the back of my mind.

      We cover our members if they use force to stop a threat to themselves or another person, under the terms of the contract. We always encourage people to take all due care to make the best decisions you can make, especially when defending third persons. We also try to look at the facts in favor of our members when we are making coverage decisions. Every situation is different. After using force to stop a threat, always call the emergency hotline and speak to an attorney to get advice on how to handle the specific situation at hand.

    This didn’t say anything about assault, or aggravated assault.

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