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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Lawyer - Texas Penal Code Article 9.01

Houston Criminal Lawyer - Texas Penal Code Article 9.01


Texas Penal Code Section 9.01 provides l definitions that are foundational for understanding the legal context of self-defense, defense of property, and the use of force within the state. This provision is part of Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code, which outlines the justification for using force and deadly force in various circumstances. Understanding these definitions is essential for anyone looking to comprehend the broader legal landscape of self-defense in Texas.


Definitions in Section 9.01

  1. "Custody":

  • Defined by Section 38.01, "custody" generally refers to the detention of a person by law enforcement or other legal authorities. This can include being under arrest or being restrained by a public servant under lawful authority. Understanding "custody" is important for interpreting situations where the use of force might be justified in preventing an escape.

  • (1) "Custody" means: (A) under arrest by a peace officer or under restraint by a public servant pursuant to an order of a court of this state or another state of the United States; or (B) under restraint by an agent or employee of a facility that is operated by or under contract with the United States and that confines persons arrested for, charged with, or convicted of criminal offenses.

  1. "Escape":

  • Also defined by Section 38.01, "escape" means an unauthorized departure from custody or failure to return to custody following a temporary leave for a specific purpose. This term is crucial in scenarios where force might be used to prevent an individual from escaping lawful detention.

  • (2) "Escape" means unauthorized departure from custody or failure to return to custody following temporary leave for a specific purpose or limited period or leave that is part of an intermittent sentence, but does not include a violation of conditions of community supervision or parole other than conditions that impose a period of confinement in a secure correctional facility.

  1. "Deadly Force":

  • Defined as force intended or known by the actor to cause, or in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing, death or serious bodily injury. This definition sets a high threshold for what constitutes deadly force, emphasizing the severity and potential consequences of such actions.

  1. "Habitation":

  • As per Section 30.01, "habitation" typically includes any structure or vehicle that is adapted for overnight accommodation. This can include houses, apartments, and even mobile homes. The definition is broad and is central to laws regarding the defense of one's home or dwelling.

  • (1) "Habitation" means a structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons, and includes: (A) each separately secured or occupied portion of the structure or vehicle; and(B) each structure appurtenant to or connected with the structure or vehicle.

  1. "Vehicle":

  • Also defined by Section 30.01, "vehicle" generally refers to any device in, on, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except devices used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks. This term is important in the context of defending property and oneself while in a vehicle.

  • (3) "Vehicle" includes any device in, on, or by which any person or property is or may be propelled, moved, or drawn in the normal course of commerce or transportation, except such devices as are classified as "habitation."

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