Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience for any Texan, especially when it involves domestic violence. In Texas, a domestic violence conviction can result in severe criminal penalties, including jail time. Regardless of the severity of the charges against you, establishing a robust defense is critical to defend your rights and restore your freedom.
How can defendants safeguard their civil liberties and hard-earned reputations against domestic violence allegations? Keep reading to learn common strategies to defend against domestic violence charges.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Texas?
Domestic violence, defined as “assault on a family or household member” under Texas law, is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to a household member. Such acts encompass various types of abuse and include both physical violence and threats of violence, as well as harassment and stalking.
Keep in mind that domestic violence isn’t limited to romantic partners, but can extend to various household members. Individuals can be charged with domestic violence after inflicting harm on qualifying household members, such as:
- Parents and children
- Current and former spouses
- Foster parents and foster children
- People living in the same household
- Individuals who are dating or have dated in the past
The penalties for domestic violence can be severe. Depending on the offense, a conviction can result in extensive jail time, hefty fines, mandatory participation in rehabilitation programs, and the loss of civil liberties, such as the right to vote or own a firearm. Domestic violence charges can also affect child custody and visitation arrangements, employment opportunities, and immigration status, threatening the freedom and economic security of accused individuals.
3 Ways to Defend Against Domestic Violence
If you were charged with domestic violence, securing experienced representation is crucial to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. In any domestic violence lawsuit, establishing a well-fortified defense requires a nuanced understanding of domestic violence laws and a careful presentation of facts. It’s important to work with a qualified attorney to prove your innocence and achieve a desirable outcome in criminal court.
While there are various ways to defend against domestic violence charges, seeking experienced counsel from a qualified domestic violence defense attorney is critical before employing a specific defense strategy. Your lawyer can carefully evaluate the details of your case to determine an appropriate defense for your unique circumstances, maximizing your chance of obtaining a favorable result.
Below are three common defenses against domestic violence:
Self-defense is an affirmative defense under the law used to defend against domestic violence. It argues that the defendant was forced to commit the criminal act to protect themselves or others from harm. However, this defense can be tricky to employ effectively. To successfully argue self-defense in a domestic violence case, the defendant is responsible for establishing critical elements. These include:
- Reasonable belief: You must have reasonably believed that there was an imminent threat of harm to yourself or others.
- Proportional response: You must prove that the force used in self-defense was necessary and proportionate to the perceived threat.
- Lack of aggression: You must establish that you didn’t initiate or provoke the violent attack.
Criminal courts can consider various factors before deciding on such cases, such as any history of violence between the two parties, the extent of the severity of the threat posed by the alleged victim, and whether the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to retreat during the altercation.
2.) False Allegations
Sadly, it isn’t uncommon for defendants to be charged with domestic violence before the lack of compelling evidence is recognized. This can occur when domestic violence accusations are false or fabricated by the alleged victim. In these cases, employing a false allegations defense can be a strategic way to reduce or drop the charges against you.
Even if you didn’t commit the crime you’re accused of, it’s essential to secure a strong defense to prove your innocence and avoid serious criminal penalties. Regardless of the evidence against you, false allegations are never a guarantee that the charges against you will be dismissed. Collaborating with a seasoned defense attorney is vital to fortify your defense and prove your innocence.
3.) Lack of Intent
To be considered domestic violence under Texas law, the defendant must have committed an act of violence intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly against the alleged victim. The lack of intent defense argues that the violence wasn’t committed intentionally, but instead resulted from an accident or misunderstanding.
This strategy can be particularly effective in cases involving inconclusive evidence or murky circumstances, such as if the defendant accidentally caused harm while performing a lawful act, by establishing the absence of criminal intent.
To successfully establish a lack of intent, the defendant must provide compelling evidence to prove their actions were unintentional (e.g., not premeditated). If the victim wasn't harmed by an intentional act of violence, this can lead to the charges being dismissed or reduced.
Aggressively Defending Your Rights in Texas
At the Law Office of Roberto Ambrosino, PLLC, our San Antonio attorney aggressively defends accused Texans facing a wide range of criminal charges, from felonies to DUI defense to theft crimes. Whether you made an honest mistake or simply weren’t thinking at the time, we understand how intimidating it can be to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
That’s why our award-winning firm is committed to securing the second chance you deserve. From fortifying your case with relevant evidence to determining an effective defense strategy to employ on your behalf, we can fight to clear your name and restore your freedom. If you were charged with a crime in Texas, don’t wait to secure the experienced defense you deserve to take back your life.
If you’re facing criminal allegations, don’t forgo your right to the strong defense you deserve. Call (210) 201-7622 to schedule a free consultation.