Assault is a serious criminal accusation, with consequences ranging from prison sentences to greater punishments. The traditional definition of assault is a crime wherein one individual intentionally causes another to be in reasonable fear of imminent injury. Battery relies on the victim sustaining an injury, but assault does not necessarily have to involve physical harm. The moment you hear of an assault accusation against you, contact our assault defense lawyer in Houston today. You need our knowledgeable representation to help you through this uncertain time.
The Elements of an Assault Charge
To charge a person for assault, the victim must have experienced reasonable fear of injury from the alleged perpetrator. The burden of proof is rather light in these cases, because the victim must prove he or she was reasonably afraid an injury would result, and that the defendant was capable of causing the injury. A victim’s testimony is often used in support of assault claims. The chances of the defendant avoiding conviction rest upon the strength of the defense and the circumstances of the case.
The Houston courts take assault charges seriously, so it is important to retain a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Punishments for assault depend on the classification of the crime. There are degrees of assault, with first degree being the most serious. First-degree assault is punishable with prison time, large fines, and/or heftier punishments. Assaults in the fourth or fifth degree are still serious, but met with less-significant consequences. An assault conviction will go on your permanent record.
Possible Defenses for an Assault Charge
There are a variety of potential ways to defend an alleged perpetrator of assault. Our capable team will investigate your case thoroughly and recommend your best course of action. If we believe you have the opportunity to defend yourself against the allegations, we may base your case on one of the following common defenses for assault:
- Self defense. If the victim committed threatening actions that justified the actions or behaviors of the defendant, the defendant may plead self-defense. This route is most effective when the defendant can show that the victim was actually the aggressor, and the defendant’s actions stayed within the limits of necessary force for the situation.
- Defense of others. To argue that the defendant was defending others, one must show that there was an honest and genuine perceived fear of harm to other persons. The jury will determine if the defendant acted in a reasonable manner to fend off the threat of harm.
- Failure to meet the burden of proof. In some cases, the prosecutor may not have enough evidence to show that the defendant committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the standard for criminal cases in Texas. In these cases, the jury must find the defendant not guilty.
You may also have an alibi defense, which proves you were not at the scene of the alleged crime when it occurred. This may be the case if the victim has misidentified the perpetrator of the assault. Our lawyers will work tirelessly to build a defense for your particular case. Make sure to speak with us for legal advice regarding your specific situation. These defenses are general and may not apply in every situation.
Schedule a Consultation in Houston Today
When it comes to criminal defense for assault, time is of the essence. Don’t wait to contact an attorney after an arrest. Call us from the police station, or get a relative to contact us on your behalf. We’re passionate about the clients we represent, and want to help you go up against the Houston criminal courts. Contact us to schedule a consultation in Houston today.