Texas Affirmative Defense

An affirmative defense involves a defendant’s response to a criminal or civil complaint, asserting reasons why the plaintiff should not win, even if the plaintiff’s claims are true. The defendant, the person facing charges, states reasons or facts negating the plaintiff’s claim.

These defenses justify a defendant’s actions and can lead to acquittal in criminal cases, even if the prosecution proves the crime’s elements. However, the defense team assumes the burden of proof once they raise an affirmative defense.

Texas Affirmative Defense

Plaintiff vs. Defendant

In the context of plaintiff versus defendant, the plaintiff initiates the claim or lawsuit by filing a complaint or petition in criminal or civil courts. The plaintiff aims to compel the defendant to act, such as paying damages or settling the case. The defendant, the party being sued or charged, must perform an action if convicted, like paying damages, serving jail time, probation, or community service, depending on the lawsuit’s outcome.

Accords and Satisfaction

Accord and satisfaction is a legal concept primarily used in civil law, especially in contract disputes. It represents an agreement between two parties (plaintiff and defendant) to settle a dispute. The ‘accord’ is the agreement, while the ‘satisfaction’ is its execution. Once terms are agreed upon, the settlement becomes binding and enforceable, resolving the dispute.

Differing from a modification, which alters an existing agreement through mutual consent—changing terms like settlement amount or scope of work—accord and satisfaction typically resolves a pre-existing dispute, while a modification seeks to prevent future disputes.

In accord and satisfaction, there’s usually an exchange of value to settle the dispute, unlike in a modification. While used predominantly in civil cases, accord and satisfaction can occasionally serve as a criminal defense. For instance, if accused of theft, a defendant might argue they returned the stolen property in exchange for the owner dropping charges, forming an accord and satisfaction. However, this defense is rare and requires specific circumstances.

In most criminal cases, the primary focus remains on whether the crime was committed, rather than any settlement between involved parties.

Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations sets a deadline for bringing criminal charges. The plaintiff or prosecutor must file within this timeframe; failure to do so typically results in case dismissal. The statute varies by crime, and in Texas, for instance, it can serve as a defense to argue a claim’s expiration.

Assumption of Risk, an affirmative defense, applies when a plaintiff knowingly engages in a dangerous activity or condition, negating their right to recover damages for any harm. This defense is apt for cases where plaintiffs willingly encounter known risks.

In general, the statute of limitations for a particular type of claim will depend on the nature of the claim and the specific circumstances of the case filed with the court.

Assumption of Risk

Texas Affirmative Defense

The Assumption of Risk is a good defense to use when the plaintiff is trying to sue the defendant for a dangerous activity or condition that they agree to. Generally, “assumption of risk” is an affirmative defense used when a plaintiff voluntarily exposes themselves to known danger or risk, disentitling them from recovering damages for any resulting injuries or harm. Similarly, in criminal law, “consent” serves as a defense in specific offenses such as assault or battery. This defense applies when a victim voluntarily and informedly consents to the defendant’s conduct, preventing the defendant’s conviction.

For instance, in a consensual fight between two individuals, neither can face charges for assault or battery due to mutual consent. Similarly, if a plaintiff signs a waiver excusing a skydiving company from liability and then sustains injuries during the activity, they cannot sue the company, acknowledging the risk involved.

Contribution Negligence

Regarding “Contribution Negligence,” it doesn’t typically serve as an affirmative defense in criminal law, which usually focuses on the defendant’s actions and their criminality rather than others’ actions. However, in crimes involving multiple defendants, like robbery or drug trafficking, each can be responsible for their own actions and those of their co-defendants committed during the crime.

Contrastingly, “contribution negligence” in civil law allocates fault among multiple parties. While not a standard affirmative defense in criminal law, the rules can vary by jurisdiction and case specifics.

Bankruptcy Discharge

This is a court order that tells the debtor that they are no longer responsible for certain types of debts. A defendant that has filed for bankruptcy and received a discharge from the debts may be able to claim this affirmative defense if the plaintiff is trying to sue them for one of those debts. While not a standard defense in criminal law, a defendant’s bankruptcy discharge could be relevant in arguments related to financial hardship influencing crime commission or in sentencing considerations.

Finally, regarding “Justifiable Force: Threats,” using threats is defensible if intended only to create apprehension, not actual commitment to harm. This defense is applicable when threats serve as a means of protection without the intention of real aggression.

Justifiable Force: Threats

Defendants may justifiably use threats as a force if they aim solely to create apprehension in another person without intending actual harm. For instance, the defendant using the threat of causing bodily harm with or without a weapon is justified to scare the other person as long as they did not follow through with the threat.

Justifiable Force: Confinement

Texas Affirmative Defense

Regarding justifiable force in confinement scenarios, a defendant’s use of force becomes justifiable if they take reasonable steps to end the confinement as soon as it’s safe to do so. This exception does not apply if the confined individual faces arrest for an offense. In such cases, the justification for confinement depends on the legality of the arrest.

Need Help? Call Us Now!

Do not forget that when you or anyone you know is facing a criminal charge, you have us, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, by your side to help you build the best defense case for you. We will work and be in your best interest for you and we will obtain the best possible outcome that can benefit you. Also, we can explain everything you need to know about your trial and how to best defend your case. We can help you step by step through the criminal process.

Therefore, do not hesitate to call us if you find yourself or someone you know that is facing criminal charges unsure about the court system. We will work with you to give you the best type of defense that can help you solve your case. It is vital to have someone explain the result of the charge to you and guide you in the best possible way. Here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we have professional and knowledgeable criminal law attorneys who are experienced in building a defense case for you that suits your needs for the best possible outcome that can benefit you.

Also, here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, you are given a consultation at your convenience. You may choose to have your appointment be via Zoom, google meet, email, or an in-person appointment; and we will provide you with as much advice and information as possible so you can have the best possible result in your case.

Call us now at (281) 810-9760.

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