Is it illegal to hit someone who is punching my spouse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it illegal to hit someone who is punching my spouse?

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both started
beating my husband up on our property. Of course
he didn’t hit them back or anything, neither did I but I
was just curious as to the laws on this matter. If I
were to hit them in order to get them to stop hitting
my husband, could I have gotten in any trouble for it
or would it have been considered defense? They
women did not stop hitting him until the cops showed

Asked on May 6, 2017 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may use force to stop their attack on him: i.e. to defend him. So if they are actively attacking, you can hit, or twist an arm, etc.--your response needs to be appropriate and proporational, however; if you escalate the level of force, that is no longer legal defense. (E.g. if they are slapping and hitting him with empty hands, no taking a bat or tire iron to them.)
Once they stop hitting, etc. your defense must instantly stop, too: you cannot hit them after the fact because they hit him.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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