Category Archives: Assault

Defending Yourself Against Assault Charges in Texas

Assault charges can feel overwhelming and confusing. The actions usually arise in the heat of the moment, often involving alcohol and adrenaline. But, it is possible to overcome assault charges, especially if you were acting to protect yourself or someone else.

Self-Defense As Your Defense

Acting in self-defense is the most common way to beat assault charges in Texas. Under Texas law, a person isn’t guilty of assault when he or she acted in self-protection that was reasonable at the time.

To prove to the court that you were acting in self-defense, you must show several things:

  • There was a threat of harm
  • You had a real fear of harm
  • You did not harm or provoke anyone before the threat occurred
  • There was no chance of avoiding the situation

To use self-defense as your defense, your lawyer must also show the court that the amount of force used was “reasonable.” That means that you used the minimum amount of force necessary to fend off the attack—not more.

Protecting Another Person or Property

Protecting another person or property is also a defense to assault charges in Texas. Just like the court understands why you would resort to violence to protect yourself, the court allows a defense for protecting someone you care about.

Further, Texas’s Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law says that a person may use “reasonable force” when protecting their home or vehicle. The law gives you the right to stand your ground against a home invader instead of having to retreat.

Consent to the Assault

In certain situations, consent can also be used as a defense to assault charges. This is especially true in sexual assault cases where the court tries to discern he-said, she-said situations. The alleged victim may have consented or appeared to consent to the encounter, only to decide later that it was actually an assault. 

Can Assault Charges Be Dropped?

Assault charges can also be dropped if the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to pursue them. That’s one of the reasons that it’s important to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible, even before charges are formally filed. 

Your attorney can start advocating for you from day one. By acting early, they may even be able to get charges dropped or help the prosecutor see why charges should never be filed at all.

Get a Strong Defense to Assault Charges

If you have been accused of assault, call 817-678-6771  or send us a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. It’s important to get legal help as soon as possible after an arrest so that your attorneys can take immediate action to protect your rights, reputation and freedom.


Can a Partner Drop Domestic Violence Charges in Texas?

Domestic violence charges often result from things that happened in the heat of the moment. An argument may have escalated until the neighbors reported the shouting to the police. Police may have mistaken an injury for a sign of domestic abuse. A household member may have made a report motivated by jealousy or anger, or to gain leverage in a family law proceeding.

Later the household member may want to drop their allegations. This is very common. In fact, it’s well documented that 80 to 90% of domestic violence victims recant their statements to police and investigators. 

What if a household member wants to take back what they said? Can a partner drop domestic violence charges in Texas?

About the Texas “No Drop” Policy

Texas has passed legislation to make sure that domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. Our state’s “no drop” policy means that, even if someone in your household wants to drop domestic violence charges, they do not have the power to do so on their own.

Domestic violence charges are brought by the prosecutor—not the alleged victim of domestic violence. Under Texas law, it’s the prosecutor’s decision whether to drop charges. Even if the alleged victim later changes their mind, they do not have the authority to drop charges on their own.

Instead, the prosecutor must be persuaded to drop the assault charges. It’s not impossible to accomplish, but it requires specific legal action and strategy.

Convincing a Prosecutor to Drop Domestic Violence Charges

Your partner or household member can’t decide to drop charges on their own, so your lawyer may need to emphasize other facts of your case. Each case is different, but a lawyer may emphasize a client’s lack of any past criminal record. They may also look to the facts of the case to help convince prosecutors that the charges need to be dropped.

Why Does Texas Have a “No Drop” Policy?

Our state’s “no drop” policy is tied to psychological research about the nature of abusive relationships. Abusive relationships often follow a cycle of gradual escalation of violence until a dramatic and significant episode. That episode is often followed by a period of calm during which the abuser tries to make it up to their partner.

Prosecutors are concerned that their clients will make statements directly after a violent episode, and then take them back when things are calm again—even though there’s likely to be a gradual escalation of violence in the future. 

Prosecutors are also concerned that abusive partners will pressure their victims into recanting out of fear. The state’s strict “no drop” policy is designed to protect against these situations.

Call Our Fort Worth Lawyers About Domestic Violence Charges

If someone in your household has made domestic violence allegations against you, call 817-678-6771 for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth domestic violence defense lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. 

We have extensive experience defending people against misdemeanor and felony assault charges. You may also send us a message.


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Texas Assault Charges: When Does an Assault Become a Hate Crime?

People get into fights. It happens every day. Most of the time those involved walk away from it and that’s the end. Sometimes one or both parties are charged with assault (misdemeanor or felony) or aggravated assault. 

Much less often, but much more serious, an assault charge can be accompanied by a charge of committing a hate crime. How does an assault become a hate crime? And what does that mean in terms of prosecution and punishment?

Texas Assault Law

The Texas Penal Code defines the crime of assault as:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse,
  2. Intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse, or
  3. Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard that contact as offensive or provocative.

A charge of aggravated assault may be brought if serious injuries resulted from an assault or if a weapon was used. (Many things can be defined as a weapon.) 

Texas Hate Crime Law

The James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act defines a hate crime as any crime motivated by “prejudice, hatred or advocacy of violence.” Hate crime charges can be added to criminal charges of arson, criminal mischief, graffiti, or (more often) crimes against a person. 

Hate crime charges may be brought if the crime was committed against the victim because of their:

  • Race, color, national origin 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Gender identity 
  • Work as a judge or law enforcement officer

In high-profile cases, the FBI may investigate and federal criminal charges may be filed. 

Prosecuting a Crime as a Hate Crime

In order to be convicted of a hate crime, the prosecutor must convince a jury that the underlying crime occurred, and that it was motivated by prejudice or hate. 

“Hate speech” is not a crime, but statements of hate can be used as evidence of the motivation of the accused person. Often the prosecutor will present something the accused said to the victim. That speech was used as evidence in the 2019 case of a Dallas man who shot a transgender woman while shouting slurs at her. He was convicted of a hate crime. 

But a homophobic slur spoken before an assault on two gay men in Austin was not enough to support a hate crime charge. In that case, a plea deal resulted in misdemeanor assault charges.

What else might prosecutors use as evidence of motive for a hate crime?

  • Things the accused has written on social media, online, as graffiti, or tattoos they are wearing
  • The location of the incident (for example, a synagogue or mosque for a religiously motivated crime, or in the case of an Atlanta killer, at Asian-owned nail salons)
  • Possession of literature or membership in a group that espouses hatred toward a certain group of people 

Punishment for Hate Crimes

A conviction for a hate crime enhances the punishment applied to the original offense. It “bumps it up” one level. So, if a person was found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, they would face punishments for a Class B misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor will not be sentenced as a felony but the amount of jail time could be increased to 180 days. 

The same applies to felony charges. The punishment is increased, except for a conviction of a 1st degree felony, which already has the potential for life in prison. 

If you could be facing criminal charges for a Texas hate crime, call the Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers at Lee and Wood. We have extensive experience defending people against misdemeanor and felony assault charges. Call our law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online