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Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges in Texas

In Texas, domestic violence is essentially an assault in which the victim is a family or household member. This can include a spouse, former spouse, parent, child or other individual related by blood or marriage or through a dating relationship. The crime is not limited to causing actual injury. It can also consist of threatening the victim with imminent bodily harm or initiating offensive or provocative physical contact.

With such a broad range of behavior covered, domestic assault charges can be difficult to defend against. Nevertheless, there are effective strategies that can be pursued, depending on the facts and circumstances of the individual case. If you are charged with domestic assault, these are among the most potent defenses:

  1. Lack of Intent — Depending on the charge, the prosecution may need to prove that you acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. A strong defense can involve presenting evidence to show that the actions were accidental or lacked purposeful intent or malice.
  2. Self-Defense — Texas recognizes the right to self-defense. It applies if you reasonably believed that force was immediately necessary to protect yourself against another person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. You may be able to demonstrate that the alleged victim initiated the violence and that your response was reasonable to prevent harm.
  3. Defense of others — A person may use force to defend another based on a reasonable belief that force is immediately necessary to protect the third party from the use or attempted use of unlawful force. This could include situations where the alleged victim initiated violence against a third party and you intervened.
  4. Absence of a Crime — It may be possible to show that no crime occurred. The alleged victim may have falsely stated or exaggerated the facts. You may be able to demonstrate inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements, present alibi evidence or provide evidence that contradicts the alleged incident.
  5. Police misconduct — It may be that the officers responding to a complaint of domestic violence acted in a way that was biased in favor of the alleged victim. In the initial response and in the course of the investigation, the officers may have sided with the victim and not acknowledged your account. As such, the police report may be skewed and thus unreliable as evidence.

Some of the foregoing are considered “affirmative defenses,” meaning you have the burden of proving them by a preponderance of the evidence.

The crime of domestic assault can range in degree from class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $500, to a class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $4,000 and a jail term of up to a year. An experienced domestic violence defense attorney can help you achieve the lowest possible sentence during negotiations with prosecutors or at trial.

Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio represents people in southern Texas charged with domestic violence crimes. Contact us online or call 210-598-8629 for a free initial consultation.

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We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected]. Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
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