Valid Legal Assault-Based Defenses: The Basics


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If you are facing an assault-based charge in Texas, the first order of business is staying out of jail (or getting out of jail) and endeavoring to ensure that the charge does not become a conviction. To do this, you will need a valid defense against the charges in question, and better understanding the basics about valid legal defenses against assault-based charges can help. If you do find yourself facing an assault-based charge, vigorously defend your legal rights from the outset by working closely with an experienced Waco criminal defense attorney.


Self-defense is one of the most common forms of defense against criminal charges such as assault, aggravated assault, and other offenses that are based on assault. The burden of proving your guilt rests squarely on the shoulders of the state. If your defense strategy is self-defense, the state is put in the difficult position of having to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you did not act in self-defense. The crux of self-defense is that you would not have attacked the person you are accused of attacking if the circumstances had not placed you in actual danger or apparent danger that invoked your right to protect yourself from such danger (or apparent danger). For a claim of self-defense to prevail, the danger you faced will generally need to surpass verbal threats alone. Further, if you are found to have provoked the danger in question, it can seriously limit the validity of your self-defense claim.


A defense of necessity means that the actions that led to your charges were justified because they were necessary to protect yourself from imminent harm. The elements of a necessity defense include:

  • You reasonably believed your actions (that led to the criminal charge) were immediately necessary in order for you to avoid imminent harm.

  • According to ordinary standards of reasonableness, the damage caused by your urgency to avoid harm (the action prevented by the law) clearly outweighed the harm you were avoiding.

  • There is no legislative purpose for excluding the justification of your conduct.

In order to invoke the defense of necessity, you will need to admit to being guilty of the illegal act in question. As such, your justification will need to counterbalance punishment in your case. If you are found to have placed yourself in the precarious position in question and then to have engaged in a criminal act to remove yourself from it, you will not be allowed jury instruction on your defense strategy of necessity.

Reach out to an Experienced Waco Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing an assault charge, it is a serious matter, and you need an equally serious defense. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Waco, Texas, is a formidable criminal defense attorney who is committed to zealously defending your rights in pursuit of your case’s best possible resolution. For more information about what we can do to help you, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.
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