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Was it really assault, or did you act in self-defense?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Texas has laws against harming others, offensively touching them, threatening them or making them fear for their safety. Those who intentionally attack or intimidate another person could find themselves facing criminal charges. Assaultive offenses occur when one person intentionally harms another, often by initiating aggressive physical contact. Texas defines numerous behaviors as forms of assault, including putting someone in fear for their physical safety and intentionally injuring another person.

Assault charges can result from the police responding to a domestic disturbance at someone’s home or an altercation outside of a popular sports bar. Someone accused of an assault offense could end up serving jail time and paying large fines. They could also end up coping with the limitations created by a criminal record involving interpersonal violence. Can a claim of self-defense help an individual avoid a conviction for assault in Texas?

There are several actions that constitute self-defense

Texas has relatively robust rules for self-defense claims. Individuals who fear for their physical safety can use force to defend themselves. The state also allows for the use of physical force to defend a person’s property. Finally, self-defense claims and also involve acting to protect a third party.

When someone wants to stop a crime in progress or protect themselves or others, they can potentially claim that they acted in self-defense in criminal court. They can use physical force by intervening with their bodies or with verbal warnings to stop someone from breaking the law.

There are limits to self-defense claims

Not every self-defense claim will work as a defense strategy in Texas court. Sometimes, individuals accused of interpersonal violence can’t claim that they acted in self-defense because they were in the process of breaking another law when the incident occurred. Even minor infractions, like trespassing, can prevent someone from claiming they acted in self-defense.

Additionally, if the other party can reasonably claim that the defendant was the instigator because they were the one to make physical contact first or issued a threat, that might very well alter how the courts handle the case. A different defense strategy may be necessary when the situation won’t allow for claims of acting in self-defense.

Exploring common defense solutions with the assistance of a legal professional can benefit those who have been accused of assault and are hoping to avoid a criminal conviction in Texas.