What does Texas and Washington State have in common? 

They both legally allow dueling...sort of. I'm sorry, but you must put your rapier and/or comically large pistol away.

Both states have a "mutual combat" law that allows us to "settle this outside" legally, but only fisticuffs* are permissible my good sir. And there are a TON of conditions, too.

* old-timey word for "fistfight" that I was itching to use.  

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

In Texas, Penal Code 22.06 allows for mutual combat, under certain conditions:

Sec. 22.06. CONSENT AS DEFENSE TO ASSAULTIVE CONDUCT. (a) The victim's effective consent or the actor's reasonable belief that the victim consented to the actor's conduct is a defense to prosecution under Section 22.01 (Assault), 22.02 (Aggravated Assault), or 22.05 (Deadly Conduct) if:

(1) the conduct did not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury; or

(2) the victim knew the conduct was a risk of:

(A) his occupation;

(B) recognized medical treatment; or

(C) a scientific experiment conducted by recognized methods.

(b) The defense to prosecution provided by Subsection (a) is not available to a defendant who commits an offense described by Subsection (a) as a condition of the defendant's or the victim's initiation or continued membership in a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.

Does this mean you have legal permission to fist-fight anyone you want to? Of course not. You should assume that if you fight someone, you will almost certainly get into some kind of trouble, for instance, you could get a disorderly conduct charge. There has to be proof they agreed to combat, too. In most cases, that'll be that they hit you first.

If you've been drinking, then you'll likely get a P.I. And if any weapon is used or brandished at any point, this law goes out the window. If serious bodily damage happens, this law is also not going to protect you. If there is any other crime involved or either person is in a gang, someone's likely to go to jail.

Not to mention that there's the chance you'll lose and get seriously hurt. Or you'll win and seriously hurt someone else, which again, nulls this law.

In essence, you should absolutely not get into a fistfight with anyone. However, if it happens in Texas or Washington, you may have a chance of getting away with it legally.

But you probably won't be allowed back into that saloon, cowboy.

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