Were you charged with assault in Texas or another state recently? These accusations are usually scary but there are ways to defend yourself. Talk to your criminal defense attorney to find out if one of the below defenses will work in your assault charge case.
It’s the prosecutor’s job to prove you committed assault beyond a reasonable doubt. Your criminal defense attorney, conversely, intends to prove the event wasn’t assault, or you didn’t do it.
What Is Assault?
The definition of assault varies somewhat by state, but we’ll stick with how the state of Texas defines it.
Assault charges often stem from a fight, argument, or even a weapon-related attack. If you are convicted of a felony, you could be looking at a significant prison sentence. Assault and battery cases are taken seriously in Texas, especially when someone is hurt or there was a weapon involved.
Assault in Texas statutes is defined by these characteristics:
- You caused bodily injury to another person
- You made threats to another person, making them fear imminent bodily harm
- You caused physical contact with another party when you know or reasonably believe that the other one will assume it’s an aggressive move
You don’t need to actually assault someone in Texas to be convicted for assault charges. If you simply threaten someone else, this can be considered assault.
If you use a weapon or there was a serious injury, it could be an aggravated assault charge with a posssible $10,000 fine and 2 to 20 years in prison.
Some of the most effective assault charges defenses include:
Defense Of Property
If you are charged with assault, case details may reveal that you were defending your property. For example, if someone breaks into your home in your presence, most states allow you to use reasonable force to defend it.
Using force to defend your home is usually protected. But some judges and state laws will look at things differently if you commit assault to prevent the theft of your care.
It’s rare, but it’s possible to defend against an assault charge by saying the other party consented to you using force against them. This is a defense that often comes up in sexual assault cases where the defendant claims the alleged victim consented.
If your defense attorney can prove the use of physical force was consensual, there is no assault.
The most common assault defense is you needed to defend yourself from serious injury or death. To prove self-defense, you and your attorney must show there was a substantial threat of illegal force. Or you perceived a serious fear of being harmed
Also, the force you used while defending yourself needs to be considered reasonable when compared to what the aggressor could have done.
Say someone confronts you on the street with a knife and demands your wallet. It’s unlikely you could be successfully charged for assault if you punched the person and they dropped the knife.
This defense is like self-defense. The major difference is the person had to have an authentic fear of the other person.
The limits that come into play for the defense of others are like that of defending yourself from harm. Remember, the accused needs to have had reasonable ground for the fear they perceived for this defense to stick.
Being found guilty of assault can have disastrous consequences for your personal and professional lives. In addition to a potential jail term and fines, the conviction is on your record forever.
Selecting a skilled criminal defense attorney is the best way to fend off an assault charge in court.