Prosecutors take allegations of domestic violence extremely seriously in Dallas, Texas. If you are convicted of domestic violence, you could face jail time, fines, and loss of parental rights, among other penalties. The fall-out from a conviction can be life-altering. If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is critical to find an aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend your rights.
Every domestic violence case is different. An experienced attorney will look at the details of your case and put together the best strategy. Below are six common defenses that can be used to defend against domestic violence allegations in Dallas.
- False Allegation
One strategy is to prove that the victim is lying. There are various reasons why someone would bring a false allegation of domestic violence. Commonly, they are made out of anger or in an attempt to gain the upper hand in child custody or divorce litigation. To prove that the victim is not telling the truth, your attorney can show the court inconsistencies in the evidence, including the victim’s testimony.
If the victim recants their story, it does not automatically mean that your charges will be dropped. However, it can significantly support your case.
You can show the court that you had an alibi proving your innocence. If you were not in the area where the domestic violence allegedly occurred, you cannot be convicted. Your attorney can use witness testimony, video, text messages, and other evidence to prove your alibi.
In Texas, you are allowed to use reasonable force to protect yourself or another family member from bodily harm. To use this defense, you must have believed that you were at imminent risk of serious bodily injury. You cannot bring this defense if you started or escalated the incident. It will bolster your defense if you have evidence that the victim was the initial aggressor.
The force that you use must be reasonable and proportionate. For example, if your husband is yelling and raising his fists in your face, it would be reasonable to push him away. However, it would not be a reasonable response to shoot your husband with a gun.
To be convicted of domestic violence in Dallas, the prosecution must prove that you intended to harm the victim or acted recklessly. It is a defense if the injury was the result of an accident. An accident occurs when you injure someone, but it was done unintentionally.
For example, you open the door to your bedroom but end up hitting your wife on the head because she did not move away from the entryway. It is an accident because you did not reasonably expect that opening the door would injure your spouse. You did not have the requisite intent to commit the crime and should not be convicted of domestic violence.
- Lack of Evidence
In a domestic violence case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The state must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Your attorney can argue that the state lacks the evidence required to meet this burden. Your attorney can challenge the credibility of the evidence, bring up inconsistencies in the evidence, and point out the lack of evidence.
- Violation of Constitutional Rights
Your attorney can argue that law enforcement violated your constitutional rights during the investigation and arrest. For example, law enforcement must read individuals their Miranda rights before interrogation. The officer must tell you:
- You have the right to remain silent;
- If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law;
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning; and
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.
Additionally, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Police officers must have reasonable grounds to search a person.
If your constitutional rights have been violated, it can be grounds for excluding evidence, which can sometimes lead to the dismissal of charges. Typically, requests to exclude evidence are made by a pre-trial motion.
Your Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have questions about domestic violence charges, you should reach out to an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced Dallas attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected. Call Philip D. Ray today to schedule a consultation at (469) 588-6770.