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

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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
up.

Asked on May 6, 2017 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.


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