...

General Defenses in Criminal Cases

Texas General Defense

These are defenses that your defense criminal law attorney can raise in court to negate your responsibility for a crime committed. Common criminal defenses in Texas may include arguing that the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, asserting that the defendant was acting in self-defense, or that they lacked the requisite intent to commit the crime being charged with.

Insanity Defense

This type of defense is super difficult to prove in court, but depending on the charge, it can protect you from criminal responsibility. The defense of insanity is based on the idea that the defendant was not responsible for their actions at the time of the crime because they suffered from a mental illness or defect that impaired their ability to understand the wrongfulness of their conduct. In Texas, the insanity defense is governed by Section 8.01 of the Texas Penal Code. The statute provides that a defendant is not responsible for their criminal conduct if at the time of the conduct, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, the defendant was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct. To prove the defense of insanity in Texas, the defendant must show by a preponderance of the evidence that they had a severe mental disease or defect that prevented them from understanding the nature and wrongfulness of their conduct at the time of the crime was committed. If successful, the defendant may be found not guilty by reason of insanity, which means that they would be committed to a mental health institution rather than punished with a prison sentence. It is important to note that if this defense is successful there may be conditions in place after the court proceedings.

Conditions may include being placed into a treatment plan, but the defendant will not exceed the maximum prison sentence that would have been possible for committing the crime being charged. However, depending on the severity of the charge, this could mean the rest of the defendant’s life. It is in your best interest to discuss this time of defense strategy with your defense criminal law attorney to see if this will work in your best interest, as every case is different. It is important to note that the insanity defense is not often successful, and it is not a defense that can be used to excuse you of all criminal conduct. The burden of proof is also on the defendant to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard of proof than the beyond-a-reasonable doubt standard used in Court during a criminal case trial.

Mistake of Fact

In Texas, mistake of fact is a criminal law defense that can be used to negate the mens rea also known as the intent element of a crime. The defense of mistake of fact is based on the idea that the defendant had a mistaken belief about a material fact that, if true, would have made their conduct lawful. To use the defense of mistake of fact in Texas, the defendant must show that they had a mistaken belief about a material fact, the mistake of fact was reasonable, and the mistake of fact negates the mens rea or intent element of the crime charged. For example, suppose a person takes an object from someone else’s property, believing it to be their own property. If the defendant can show that they honestly and reasonably believed that the object belonged to them, they may be able to use the defense of mistake of fact to argue that they lacked the intent to commit the crime of theft. It is important to note that depending on the crime committed by the defendant, the defense mistake of fact may not be available and it depends on the case and if this defense is applicable. Additionally, the mistake of fact must be both honest and reasonable. If the mistake was unreasonable, or if the defendant’s mistaken belief was due to their own negligence or recklessness, the defense of mistake of fact may not be available.

Duress

This is a situation where the defendant acts against their will because they are forced by the plaintiff into taking an action that may include a criminal act such as stealing or hurting someone. The defendant will have to prove that the plaintiff threatened them to do something against their will, the threat forced the defendant to act in a way they normally would not. That the defendant’s change in behavior happened around the time of the incident, and that the defendant had no way to protect themselves from the threat.

Intoxication

In Texas, intoxication can be a criminal law defense in certain circumstances. The defense of intoxication is based on the idea that the defendant’s mental state was so impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime that they were unable to form the necessary intent or mental state required for the offense. There are two types of intoxication defenses recognized in Texas: Voluntary Intoxication and Involuntary Intoxication. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to a crime in Texas and if you voluntarily choose to be intoxicated you can not use this as your defense. Alcohol or other intoxicants may lower your inhibitions or allow you to do things you normally would not even consider doing. Involuntary intoxication, on the other hand, can be a defense to a crime in Texas.

Involuntary intoxication occurs when a person is coerced, tricked, or forced into consuming drugs or alcohol, or when they unknowingly consume a substance that causes them to become intoxicated. In these cases, the defendant may be able to use their involuntary intoxication as a defense to the charges. An example of involuntary intoxication could be if a person is given a drink that they did not know contained drugs or alcohol, or if they are forced to consume a substance against their will. For instance, if a person attends a party and someone slips a drug into their drink without their knowledge or consent, and the person then commits a crime while under the influence of that drug, they may be able to use the defense of involuntary intoxication. Similarly, if a person is held at gunpoint and forced to consume alcohol or drugs, and then commits a criminal act while under the influence of those substances, they may also be able to use the defense of involuntary intoxication. In both cases, the defendant would need to show that their intoxication was involuntary and that it prevented them from forming the necessary intent or mental state required for the crime.

Entrapment

This criminal defense can be used in certain cases where the defendant feels like they only committed a crime because law enforcement influenced them to do it, this is called entrapment. To use the defense of entrapment in the state of Texas, a defendant must show that the idea of committing the criminal act originated with the law enforcement officer or their agent. That the law enforcement officer or agent had induced or persuaded the defendant to commit the criminal act. The defendant was not predisposed to commit the crime before the law enforcement officer’s involvement and the defendant had only committed the crime as a result of the law enforcement officer’s actions.

It is important to note that the defense of entrapment is not available if the defendant was already predisposed to commit the crime, even if a law enforcement officer provided an opportunity or encouragement to commit the crime. Additionally, the defendant bears the burden of proving the defense of entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence. If a defendant successfully uses the defense of entrapment in Texas, the charges against him or her may be dismissed or reduced. However, the defense of entrapment is rarely successful in Texas or in other jurisdictions, as courts tend to give law enforcement officers significant leeway in their tactics to investigate and apprehend criminal suspects.

Criminal Defense of Age

The defense of age affecting criminal responsibility in Texas, as outlined in Section 8.07 of the Texas Penal Code, is a statutory defense that is based on the age of the defendant at the time of the offense. If the defendant was under the age of 15 at the time of the offense, there is a presumption that the defendant is not criminally responsible for their actions. This means that the burden is on the prosecution to prove that the defendant had the requisite mental state to be held responsible for the offense. If the defendant was under the age of 15 at the time of the offense, the defense can argue that the defendant did not have the requisite mental state to be held responsible for the offense.

This may include evidence of the defendant’s immaturity, lack of judgment, or inability to understand the consequences of their actions due to their age. This law also prohibits the punishment of death for any offense committed by a defendant under the age of 18. It is important to note that even if the defense of age affecting criminal responsibility is successful, the defendant may still be subject to civil commitments, such as being placed in a mental health facility or juvenile detention center. Additionally, the defendant may still face consequences for their actions, such as being required to participate in counseling or treatment programs to address their behavior.

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. We can explain everything you need to know about your trial and how to defend your case best. 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 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.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore

Other Related Articles

  1. What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Texas
  2. What are the best domestic violence defense strategies?
  3. Family Law Cases in Texas: Defenses to Child Support Enforcement Suits
  4. What are Possible Defenses Against Actions of Marital Fault?
  5. The Consequences of Drug Trafficking in Texas
  6. What Is Robbery In Texas
  7. What is the Statute of Limitations?
  8. Aggravated Assault In Texas

General Defense FAQs

Select a question from the dropdown below to reveal the answer:

Share this article

Category

Categories

Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM Saturday: By Appointment Only

"(Required)" indicates required fields