Friday, August 31, 2007

Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground Bill Becomes Law

Tomorrow is September 1st, the day that the Texas Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground Bill becomes law. I have received quite a few hits from people interested in this new law, and what it does for the free citizen of Texas.

In a nutshell:

SB 378 explicitly states in law that a person has no duty to retreat if the person is attacked in a place where he or she has a right to be present, if he or she has not provoked the attacker, and if the person using force is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used. In addition, the jury is instructed to presume that the victim's actions were reasonable if the victim brings forth evidence that he or she is entitled to the presumption, unless the state can prove otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
This bill also provides civil immunity for the individual who uses justified force or deadly force. This individual is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable. An individual can still be sued, but if it has already been proven that the force was justified, they will win, and early on in the case.

Here is the text of SB 378, as it is always good know the exact verbiage of the law.

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

relating to the use of force or deadly force in defense of a person.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Section 9.01, Penal Code, is amended by adding Subdivisions (4) and (5) to read as follows:

(4) "Habitation" has the meaning assigned by Section 30.01.

(5) "Vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section 30.01.


SECTION 2. Section 9.31, Penal Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e) and (f) to read as follows:

(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.

(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.


SECTION 3. Section 9.32, Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 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 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.


SECTION 4. Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9 Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.


SECTION 5.

(a) Sections 9.31 and 9.32, Penal Code, as amended by this Act, apply only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act. An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for this purpose. For the purposes of this subsection, an offense is committed before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurs before the effective date.

(b) Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as amended by this Act, applies only to a cause of action that accrues on or after the effective date of this Act. An action that accrued before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect at the time the action accrued, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.


SECTION 6. This Act takes effect September 1, 2007.

This is a very good law and the free citizens of Texas should be proud of their legislature for getting it accomplished. We should also thank all the folks who called, emailed and faxed their representatives and supported this bill, and those who worked behind the scenes to get this done. Getting this bill passed was no easy task, and it is a testament to all of our hard work that it passed with such wide margins.

If you live in Texas, own a firearm, support our rights, and are not a member of the TSRA, shame on you. The TSRA was very instrumental in supporting all of our firearm related rights during this past legislative session.

To join the TSRA today, click here. If you tell them I sent you, James Dark (the Executive Director) would owe me a beer at the next Lone Star Friends of NRA Banquet.

5 comments:

Just John said...

Shame that such a common sense based law is not the norm across the nation.

Bushwack said...

I love this law, I do know why it is not EVER going to become law in my state of California:
Count the times the word "Actor" is used..... it would be bad for the industry, cause I could think of at least 30 actors that deserve to be shot. LOL

Congrats Texas, you have taken a big step toward getting our country back.

Fits said...

Didn't a new or improved guns-in-cars law go into effect as well or am I thinking of somewhere else...

JR said...

The guns-in-cars law is HB 1815, it also becomes law on Sept. 1st.

This was a good legislative session for Texas gun owners.

Shore-Leave OIC said...

Its about time! This should be a federal law.