Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

What are some defenses to assault charges in Texas?

An assault charge in Texas can have serious consequences. If convicted of felony assault, the defendant can face a state prison sentence. Even a misdemeanor assault can result in jail time and stiff fines. A conviction for any violent crime can make it hard to get a job or an apartment. Anyone facing an assault charge needs to put up an aggressive defense.

There are a number of defenses available to a charge of assault. Texas law allows an individual to use force against another person if the individual acted with a reasonable belief that the alleged victim was about to use unlawful force against him or her. Similarly, a defendant can argue that he or she used force against the alleged victim to protect a third person from harm, as long as the defendant reasonably believed the alleged victim was about to use unlawful force against the third person.

When bad behavior leads to unintentional injury it does not necessarily justify an assault charge. A lot of assault charges arise out of bar fights; if the defendant can prove that both parties consented to the fight, the charges could be dismissed on the grounds of mutual fighting.

When a client is charged with assault, an experienced criminal defense attorney will review the arrest record and the prosecution's evidence and prepare an appropriate defense. In many cases, it is possible to have a felony assault charge reduced to a misdemeanor through a plea bargain. In other cases, it is possible to have the charges dismissed outright before trial. If necessary, defense counsel can take the case to trial and seek an acquittal after requesting the court to instruct the jury on a defense of self-defense, defense of another person or mutual fighting.

Source: Tex. Penal Code, Title 2, §§ 9.31, 9.32, accessed April 30, 2015