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How far does self-defense go when being assaulted (TX)?

White Oak, TX |

A friend of mine got into it with her boyfriend. He spit on her&she did push him, but then tried to walk away. He grabbed her, bit her, and as she was trying to get away, he punched her in the face. She did fight back, but then left. Would she get into trouble if she filed a report? She's scared and doesn't know what to do..

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Force is justified when and to the degree it is reasonably believed to be immediately necessary to protect oneself from injury. Does she have visible injuries? Bite marks? Bruising? Physical evidence to back up her story would help her credibility. Waiting to a later date can also increase the risk an officer would not want to make a report or that a prosecutor may decline to take the case.

    She could stand some risk of trouble if she admitted to becoming physically aggressive by only being provoked or angry. Any force she used to defend herself woud hopefully be viewed as justified. What you described sounds like she was assaulted, but she may have also committed Assault. If she makes a report, someone will probably get arrested- maybe both of them. It depends on which cop on what day in what mood she catches them. There's really no one right answer for her.

    If she feel like she is a victim of inappropriate violence, she should do something to change her situation. Filing a police report on the circumstances you described is one of her options.

  2. Here is some information to make a report in Gregg County:

    Gregg County Sheriff
    101 E. Methvin, Suite 559
    Longview, TX 75601
    (903) 236-8400

    Victim Assistance Coordinator
    Greg County Criminal District Attorney
    101 E. Methvin Street, Ste. 333
    Longview, TX 75601
    (903) 236-8440

    Educational purposes answer. | | | | | Non-privileged answer.

  3. Well, you're being a little vague about exactly how she "did fight back," but if she was punched in the face I would say that's enough to make a report to the police. She should photograph any injuries she suffered--bruises, scratches, bite marks, etc. It is unlikely that the police would arrest her for her actions when she was the one making the report. I do sometimes see the victim arrested on scene in all the confusion of who did what to who first, but I have never seen this happen when the report is made after the fact. If she is concerned, she should consult a criminal defense before contacting the police.

    Macy Jaggers's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Jaggers offers everyone a free consultation to discuss their case. Feel free to call her office at 214-365-9800 to make an appointment (phones are answered 24 hours) or visit her website at for more information about her services and recent victories.

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