What constitutes self-defense?

My now ex-boyfriend was threatening me and my daughter grabbed a kitchen knife and placed behind her back. She then had it pointed down to the ground. He is threatening to file charges on her for assault. Isn’t this self defense?

Asked on November 13, 2013 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It may not be self-defense unless your ex-boyfriend was, to a reasonable person, imminently--or immediately--threatening or instituting a physical attack. It is only self-defense when an attack is occuring or is about to occur. Future threats, vague oral/verbal threats, threats which are so over the top no one would believe them, or threats of non-violent actions (such as "I'll ruin you") do not justify drawing a weapon on someone.

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