Texas Zombie Laws


Are They Dead or Alive?

The zombies are coming, what can I do? Are they dead or alive? What is the difference? Can I hunt them? How can I protect myself? We will answer all these questions and more.

First things first, are the zombies dead or alive? If the zombie is in Texas, then Texas law applies, whether dead or un-dead.

“A person is dead when, according to ordinary standards of medical practice, there is irreversible cessation of the person’s spontaneous respiratory and circulatory functions.”

—See Tex. Health and Safety Code § 671.001(a)

In Texas, a medical doctor must make the determination

of death, but, there are circumstances where a registered nurse or physician’s assistant can also declare death.

—See Tex. Health and Safety Code § 671.001(d)

However, until someone is pronounced dead by a medical professional, then that person is technically living in the eyes of the law. But on that note, how do you suppose we get one of these medical professionals close enough to determine whether this potential zombie is breathing and has a heartbeat? Seems like we’ll never have “dead” zombies, right?

Wrong. Although some depictions of zombies show them re-animating just a few seconds after infection (World War Z), others show them re-animating hours after infection (Dawn of the Dead). Therefore, it is possible to have an official death pronouncement before re-animation.

Dead Zombie Defense

Let’s presume that you are dealing with a truly dead zombie. Well, in Texas, it is illegal to abuse a corpse. Specifically, if you damage, dissect (cutting off the zombies head with a machete fits in here), or treat a corpse in an offensive matter, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for abuse of a corpse.

—See Tex. Pen. Code § 42.08(a)

Also, by damaging the corpse, the family of the zombie, or at least the ones he hasn’t already eaten or infected, may or may not pursue litigation against you for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED).

However, this could be difficult for them to prove because they would have to show certain criteria; you acted recklessly or intentionally, your conduct was extreme and outrageous, your actions caused the them emotional distress, and the emotional distress was severe in nature. We’ll discuss your defense options as soon as this issue arises.

Hunting Zombies

In Texas, hunting is regulated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. As of the date of this publication, Texas does not have any law on the books for hunting and killing zombies, no matter how alive or dead they may be.

Texas does have laws for open seasons, how you can or can’t hunt specific things, and if there is a bag limit. But, be sure to read up on the hunting statutes because you wouldn’t want to violate the provisions about hunting from roads or vehicles.

—See Tex. Parks & Wild. Code § 62

As soon as the zombie apocalypse happens, get your preparedness kit ready and log on to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to look for hunting regulations and licenses before your city’s electrical grid goes down.

 Zombies are Attacking

Zombies are going to attack you. If zombies exist, then based on everything we know, they will attack you, your neighbors, and your family. How can you legally protect yourself from these creatures who may have been a neighbor or family member?

Texas has different laws regarding self-defense, defense of a third person, or defense of property. You already know from our Booby Trap Blog that booby traps are legal, but you also know that any legal booby trap would not help guard against a zombie invasion.

You are only justified in using deadly force if you reasonably believe it is immediately necessary to protect yourself from another’s use, or attempted use, of unlawful deadly force; such as a zombie attempting to break down your door or threatening to eat your brain, as long as you yourself are not committing a crime.

—See Tex. Pen. Code § 9.31

You can also use deadly force to protect a third person (i.e., family member, friend, neighbor). If you would be justified in using deadly force, were you in the third person’s shoes, then you can use deadly force to protect the third person from a zombie attack. For example, if you saw a zombie attacking someone on a public street then you could use deadly force if it is necessary to save their life.

—See Tex. Pen. Code § 9.33

What Can I Do During a Zombie Apocalypse?

Well, since it appears that a zombie apocalypse is inevitable, the best thing you can do is start preparing for it now. Heck, even the CDC is recommending people to prepare for zombies!

That means you should go ahead and get your affairs in order by writing a Will, and you should read up on some relevant gun laws; such as how to carry firearms or even laws concerning guns and your kids.

 –Authored by Emily D. Walterscheid,

 Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Halloween Law Division

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

[email protected]