Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
When it comes to self-defense, pepper spray is easily one of the most popular tools to use but did you know that the carrying and use of pepper spray is actually restricted in some places?
If you are wondering if it’s legal to carry and use pepper spray in Texas, then this is the place for you.
We are going to be carrying out an in-depth analysis into the legalities surrounding pepper spray in the US state of Texas.
This way, you can find out if you can carry pepper spray in Texas to keep yourself and others safe. So, let’s get started.
What Is Pepper Spray?
First up, let’s find out what pepper spray is and how it is used.
Pepper spray is a type of aerosol spray which is used as protection against attackers and assailants.
It contains a compound called capsaicin – a compound that is extremely inflammatory when exposed to humans and causes extreme burning and pain.
Capsaicin is what gives chili peppers the spicy kick that makes them so iconic, and it is found in a higher concentration in pepper spray than in actual chili peppers.
This makes pepper spray much hotter than actual peppers.
In fact, the pepper spray used by certain law enforcement officers measures between 500,000 and 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). A jalapeno pepper, by comparison, measures between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU.
So imagine squirting jalapeno juice into your eye – and multiplying that pain by 200!
As a result, pepper spray is used as a tool for self-defense.
It is supposed to be sprayed at an attacker’s eyes to cause temporary blindness and severe eye pain.
Other effects pepper spray can inflict includes wheezing and coughing, throat burning, chest pain, a runny nose, gagging, dizziness, burns, blisters, and sometimes even a loss of consciousness.
The extreme pain and discomfort caused by pepper spray is what many people use to fend off attackers.
The pain immobilizes the attacker and gives the victim a chance to flee.
Although pepper spray is classed as a nonlethal weapon, there have been reported cases where pepper spray has contributed to the deaths of some people, including those arrested by law enforcement themselves.
As a result, pepper spray is illegal in some places such as the United Kingdom and China even though it is still used by law enforcement.
But what about the US? Is it legal to own pepper spray in Texas?
Pepper Spray And Texas: What Is Legal And What Is Not?
As of 2022, it is legal to purchase and carry pepper spray in the United States – including in places like Texas.
Any resident can purchase and keep pepper spray on their person without any need of training or a license – so pretty much anyone can carry and use pepper spray!
This is partly why pepper spray is such a popular and commonly used tool for self-defense.
It’s easy to find and purchase, and also super easy to use as all you have to do is point and spray.
There are many who believe that pepper spray should not be commercially sold as it is technically a chemical-dispensing device.
These devices are banned in Texas but the law also states that items used for self-protection (like pepper spray) are exempt from this law.
As a result, pepper spray is commercially sold and anyone can purchase some to use for self-protection.
But here is where the technicalities lie – pepper spray must only ever be used in self-defense.
There are no laws around when you can use pepper spray and how to use it.
However, you can still be tried and convicted for using pepper spray in Texas without reasonable cause.
So, while you won’t get into trouble for buying and carrying pepper spray – you may get into trouble for using it!
When You Can Use Pepper Spray In Texas?
As we mentioned earlier, there are no set laws regarding when and where you can use your pepper spray in Texas but you can still be pulled up and charged with criminal assault.
Then, you will have to justify your actions to a jury – and it’s down to them whether or not you will be convicted for using pepper spray.
As a result, it’s recommended that you only use pepper spray in self-defense when someone makes the move to attack you first.
For example, if someone threw a punch at you and moved to do it again but you managed to get there first with your pepper spray, then this is likely a solid excuse that will convince the jury that you used your pepper spray reasonably.
However, this is not guaranteed – the jury still may find you guilty of criminal assault despite your defense of self-protection.
In another scenario, where someone was merely verbally shouting at you but made no attempts to physically assault you and you still opted to use your pepper spray, then it’s likely a jury will move to charge you with assault.
This is because there was no immediate threat of violence or danger – but again, it all comes down to the jury.
So, although it’s legal to use pepper spray in Texas, you can still get into trouble for using it without good intent.
However, due to the fact that there is no set law regarding the use of pepper spray, some juries may move to convict individuals who have used pepper spray while other juries may find them innocent.
What Crime Can You Be Charged With For Using Pepper Spray?
Those who have been convicted of using pepper spray without reasonable intent are usually convicted with a Class A misdemeanor as it is classed as a criminal assault.
However, depending on the circumstances, you could potentially be convicted of a greater (or lesser) misdemeanor.
If you are found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor through using your pepper spray inappropriately, then you could face up to a year in your local county jail.
You could also be given a fine of up to $4,000, either instead of facing jail time or possibly receiving both.
Not only that but the person you used your pepper spray against can press for civil damages.
This can result in you paying for their hospital bills for any injuries they received as a result of your use of the pepper spray, and reimbursing any other money they have lost through time off work, etc.
So, using your pepper spray in Texas could end up incredibly costly for you!
So, pepper spray is legal in Texas – to buy, to sell, to carry, and to use. You don’t need special training or a permit.
All you have to do is pick some up and use it whenever you need to.
However, this doesn’t mean you won’t face any consequences for using your pepper spray.
Although most juries will dismiss any charges against someone who used pepper spray in self-defense, improper use of pepper spray could land you a misdemeanor, a year behind bars, and a costly fine – on top of other costs that may occur as a result of a civil damages case.
So, use your pepper spray wisely!