Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

While the state of Texas refers to crimes as family violence, domestic violence is the common phrase used to describe incidents involving family or household members. Any person who is facing domestic violence charges in Denton County will want to be quick to contact a domestic violence attorney.

Many alleged offenders in these cases can have a wide variety of possible defenses against their criminal charges, but the applicable defenses always depend on the unique circumstances surrounding each situation. You will want to make sure that you have a lawyer independently examine your own story to determine which defenses will be most appropriate for your case.

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Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX

If you were arrested for a domestic violence offense, it will be important to ensure that you have a criminal defense attorney before you appear in court. Our firm understands the law and knows how to fight to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.

Self-Defense in Domestic Violence Incidents in Denton

Under Texas Penal Code § 9.31, a person may be justified in using force against another person when and to the degree, an alleged offender reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect themselves against another person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The alleged offender’s belief that the force was immediately necessary is presumed to be reasonable when an alleged offender:

  • knew or had a reason to believe that the individual against whom force was used unlawfully and with force entered or was attempting to unlawfully enter with force an alleged offender’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to unlawfully remove and with force, the alleged offender from an alleged offender’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
  • did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
  • was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the alleged force was used.
 

False Allegations in Domestic Violence Incidents in Denton County

The simple truth remains that there can be domestic violence allegations that are outright untrue. Certain spouses hoping to see their former loved ones be arrested can concoct false allegations, and police officers will frequently take a person into custody after responding to a domestic violence call even if there is no evidence to support the allegations.

If a person is falsely accused of domestic violence, an attorney can examine all photographic evidence of alleged injuries resulting from alleged domestic violence. If there are no indications of any harm, it could be difficult for a jury to believe that domestic violence occurred.

The comments of an alleged victim can also harm the veracity of their claims, such as when they tell police officers one story and then change important details later when recounting the same event. Witnesses to an alleged domestic violence incident can also serve to back up an alleged offender’s story that they did not commit any act of domestic violence.

Accidental Domestic Violence Incidents in Denton

Texas Family Code § 71.004 states that the definition of family violence is an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places a family or household member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself, abuse, as Texas Family Code defines that term § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household, or dating violence, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 71.0021.

Under Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), the definitions for abuse include the following acts or omissions by a person: 

  • physical injury resulting in substantial harm to a child, or a genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to a child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation is given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose a child to a substantial risk of harm
  • sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children under Texas Penal Code § 21.02, indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11, sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011, or aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021
  • compelling or encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.01, including compelling or encouraging a child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.02(b), or compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2)
  • causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of a child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of a child was obscene as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.21, or pornographic
  • the current use by a person of a controlled substance in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child
  • causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code
  • causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25
  • forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage.
 

Dating violence is defined under Texas Family Code § 71.0021 as an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an alleged offender that is committed against an alleged victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the alleged offender has or has had a dating relationship; or because of the alleged victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the alleged offender is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the alleged victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

Make special note of the use of the phrase “intended to” in the Texas Family Code, because a person cannot accidentally cause family violence. A crime needs to involve a specific intent to harm another person, meaning a person who accidentally harms a member of their family or household cannot be guilty of any criminal offense.

Justification Issues in Denton County

The use of force against another person can be justified when it is:

  • in response to verbal provocation alone
  • to resist an arrest or search that the alleged offender knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c)
  • if the alleged offender consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other
  • if the alleged offender provoked the other person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless the alleged offender abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other their intent to do so reasonably believing they cannot safely abandon the encounter; and the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the alleged offender 
  • if the alleged offender sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning the alleged offender’s differences with the other person while the alleged offender was carrying a weapon in violation of Section 46.02; or possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Section 46.05
 

If you believe that your actions were in accordance with Texas’ self-defense laws, you might have a valid claim against a domestic assault charge or other family violence crime.

Denton County Resources for Domestic Violence

Family Violence – Liberty and Justice for Texas | Office of the Attorney General — On this section of the attorney general website, you can learn more facts about family violence, such as its prevalence. Also find information for victims and advocates. Learn more about the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program, Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), and Statewide Automated Victim Notification System (SAVNS).

A Guide to the Texas Criminal Legal System for Family Violence Victims — The TexasLawHelp.org website states how Texas law defines the crime of family violence and what you should do if a family violence crime occurs. The website also outlines the steps in the criminal justice process. There is also a full PDF guide of the Texas criminal legal system.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Were you recently arrested for a crime of domestic violence anywhere in Denton County? Do not wait another moment to get yourself a criminal defense lawyer. Our firm has been defending people against all kinds of domestic violence charges for decades, s

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.