Texas Laws on Officer-Involved Shootings
Each state has its own laws surrounding these shootings and Texas is no different. There are statutes in the penal code that justify criminal actions for all citizens (such as protecting themselves or their property) and specifically for those in law enforcement. The law specifies what conditions must be met for an officer to use deadly force.
In Texas, “deadly force” is defined as force that’s “intended or known to cause death or serious bodily injury.” If police actions are justified by law, there is no duty to retreat before using deadly force. In general, police officers have a stronger defense in these cases if shown that you clearly identified yourself as an officer of the law and that use of deadly force prohibited the perpetrator's escape or prevented you or someone else from harm.
Use of Deadly Force in Texas
Much of the law about deadly force relies on the intention of the actor (in this case, the police officer). When under investigation, a judge will view your actions and how they compare to another “reasonable” police officer who was in the same situation. With this, they must consider the unique position that law enforcement officers are in and how the laws specifically apply to them. Under Texas law, using deadly force is justified if an officer believes it’s “immediately necessary to make an arrest or prevent escape after an arrest.” This language can be incredibly subjective and the case requires meticulous research. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can adequately represent your case to clearly show an officer using deadly force was acting within the law.
The possible defenses for officer-involved shooting cases are entirely dependent on the specifics of your case. You and your attorney will work closely together to decide which paths to pursue. As an officer, perhaps you believed your life was in imminent danger, or that the life of an innocent bystander was in danger. Or perhaps you believed that the perpetrator would have escaped had you not intervened with deadly force. Bodycam evidence can be instrumental in proving your case, as can eyewitness testimony.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
If you’ve been involved in an OIS, you must find a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in these cases. At MC Criminal Law, we have achieved the best possible results for high-profile, officer-involved shooting cases. We know how to work every angle of these cases while maximizing our long-standing relationships with the law enforcement community. While OIS cases are infrequent, they often receive lots of media attention, and outcomes can have a lasting impact on you and your community. Our team at MC Criminal Law offers highly personalized attention to each and every client, striving to mitigate the effects of these kinds of criminal charges.