An argument at a party or a restaurant turns physical. You may not have started the disagreement, but you certainly put an end to it. Then, you go on with your evening and largely forget about the altercation. That is, until the police show up at your front door or your place of employment to arrest you.
All of a sudden, you find yourself facing assault charges because the person that you hit had to go to the hospital. Obviously, you don’t want to spend a lifetime saddled with a violent criminal record. How might you defend yourself against Texas assault charges?
Show that you acted in self-defense or in defense of others
Texas state law generally makes it illegal to cause physical harm to someone else on purpose or to put them in fear for their safety through your words or actions. However, there are certain exceptions to the rules against physical force.
These exceptions include when one person acts to protect themselves or someone else from an imminent threat of harm. If you can show that you acted because the other person hurt you or made you fear for your safety, you could use self-defense claims as an affirmative defense against assault charges. Defendants can also use self-defense claims if they acted to protect an innocent third party.
Challenge the claim that you were the one involved
Sometimes, assault charges stem from a case of mistaken identity. The wrong haircut or shirt could lead to the police arresting you and even the victim of a violent crime misidentifying you. Having a strong alibi, whether it is a person or phone records showing your position was far away from the scene of the alleged incident, could help you avoid a conviction when facing assault charges.
Show that the other party consented to the interaction
State law does not allow one person to consent to another person hurting them. However, if you told someone that you would meet them outside later, and they showed up and then proceeded to argue with you again before throwing the first punch, you may be able to claim that they consented to the physical altercation. In situations where you agreed to make things physical, the behavior or words of the other party could undermine the idea that you were the aggressor.
A careful review of the evidence against you is often an important step when planning a defense strategy for a violent offense like assault. Thinking about your situation and state law can help you come up with a solid defense strategy when accused of a violent crime like assault.