How to Beat an Assault Charge in Texas
Assault charges arise from a variety of situations, but regardless of the circumstance, they can be difficult to navigate and extremely complicated. Comparatively, assault is a relatively common criminal charge and there are an array of legal strategies used to beat assault charges.
A report from the Texas Department of Public Safety states violent crimes in Texas have increased, compared to prior years. In 2019, there were over 75,000 accounts of aggravated assault in Texas, comprising over 60% of the violent crimes in the state. This data suggests that assault charges are relatively frequent compared to other crimes like murder or robbery.
Naturally, when faced with an assault charge, one is left wondering whether it is possible to beat the assault charge. The answer to this question hinges on a wide range of factors and strategies. When considering the likelihood of beating an assault charge, however, there are some across the board elements to take into account.
If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, consider seeking legal guidance. At the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak, we are prepared to answer your questions and provide legal counsel to help beat an assault charge. Call us today at (832) 315-6283 to learn more about your options.
What Is an Assault Charge?
Texas Penal Code Title 5 Chapter 22 states that an individual commits assault when they engage in any of the following activities:
- Intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person
- Intentionally threatens immediate bodily injury to another person
- Intentionally engages in physical contact when there is reasonable belief that such contact can be regarded as offensive or provocative
It should be noted that all of these offenses apply to an individual’s spouse as well, and that there are different forms of assault that include sexual conduct or the presence of a weapon, for example. For instance, aggravated assault occurs when an individual causes bodily harm to another, using or exhibiting a deadly weapon. Sexual assault, in contrast, involves unwanted sexual contact or penetration.
What Strategies Are Used To Defend Against Assault Charges?
An assault charge can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the unique situation and factors arising from the case. For example, an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon will be handled much differently from one that does not involve any physical contact or weapons. This holds true for sexual assault, domestic assault, and even assaulting a peace officer. Each case has a unique set of factors and will require a unique strategy to defend against the assault charge.
Even though each case will be handled according to the severity of the crime, the status of the victim, and the extent of any injuries caused, there are some common approaches used by lawyers to overcome assault charges. Some examples of common strategies include:
- Defense of other individuals
- Defense of property
- Existence of reasonable doubt
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but criminal attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak is well equipped to help to defend against an assault charge. It should be noted, however, that an alleged victim of assault does not have the legal authority to drop an assault charge. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to drop the charges, even if the victim requests to stop the case.
A common strategy used to beat assault charges in Houston is claiming self-defense. This approach works because every individual is guaranteed the right to protect their person. If a person is put in danger, qualifying physical contact or assault that results from that altercation can be seen as self-defense.
If someone threatens to injure you, or is about to injure you, you are not at fault for reasonable actions in defense of yourself. Provoking an incident, however, does not count as self-defense. If you caused the incident, then you will likely be liable for assault.
Defense Of Other Individuals
Similar to self-defense, it is well within a person’s legal rights to protect another individual from harm. If you injure someone in an attempt to protect another person, then the harm caused by you can be forgiven under the self-defense of another defense.
Defense Of Property
Texas Penal Code, Chapter 9, Subchapter D stipulates that if you find another person trespassing on your land or unlawfully using any tangible, movable property that belongs to you, you are justified to use force if you believe that is the only way to stop them from doing so. The language of this law implies that you must catch the person in the act, while they are in the process of illegally using or trespassing on your property.
Existence Of Reasonable Doubt
This requires more technical legal know-how and expertise of the system, but on some occasions, an attorney can beat an assault charge by arguing that the charge cannot be adequately proven. The law demands a high level of proof before convicting an individual of a crime, and if that burden of proof cannot be met, then the charge may be dismissed.
Can A Criminal Attorney Help Beat An Assault Charge?
As hinted at earlier, there are many technical legal strategies that lawyers implement to beat an assault charge. These tactics may involve arranging with prosecutors to drop the charge before it makes it to trial or negotiating for a lesser violation.
Utilizing these strategies, however, requires a high level of legal knowledge and experience in the field. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to consult an attorney to defend against an assault charge.
At the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak, we understand the implications of being charged with assault and we have successfully negotiated better outcomes for our clients. If you have been charged with assault, you are protected by the law. Call us today at (832) 315-6283 to discuss your case and explore the strategies available to beat an assault charge in Houston and ensure justice.