What to do if I pepper sprayed my sister’s boyfriend and now he’s file a complaint for assault?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if I pepper sprayed my sister’s boyfriend and now he’s file a complaint for assault?

My sister’s boyfriend was kicked out of the house because we believe he is abusive and we don’t trust him. He came over on Halloween after being told not to but my mom went ahead and let him grab his stuff because we didn’t want any problems. While he was there, he became hostile towards my mom even telling her to shut her mouth. I went out there because I was worried about her and he started in on me. One thing lead to another and I pepper sprayed him twice because I believed he would have hit me. Now he is charging me with assault.

Asked on December 19, 2016 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If he was not in the process of overtly threatening you with immediate assault (raising his fist to you; pushing you; stating he was about to hit you; etc.) then even if he was being orally or verbally abusive, you committed assault: you can only use force on another in defense against an active or imminent (where any reasonable person would conclude it was imminent) assault. (If some one is verabally abusing you, you call the police if they won't leave or leave you alone.)
If it was reasonable to think you were facing imminent assault, then you could raise "self defense" as a defense if you are in fact charged.

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