The Houston Texans may have the best defense in the NFL, but what about different defenses to different crimes?September 6, 2018
As an attorney who occasionally handles criminal cases, one of the common questions asked is: “Do I have a defense?”. While each case and fact pattern is different, I thought it would be a good idea to list out general defenses in this blog for every crime.
Defenses are different than elements of a crime:
I know, this sounds confusing. What this means is basically the defense of a crime is only used if the State can prove you committed the crime. If the State can’t prove you committed the crime, then you don’t even have to worry about a defense because you are NOT GUILTY. Each crime has different elements that the State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to show you committed the crime. But the main element that is required for most crimes (except strict liability crimes which we will discuss in a different blog), is Mens Rea. Mens Rea is the requirement that you must have had the intent to commit the actions of a crime. This does not necessarily mean that you knew what you were doing is illegal, it just means you were intentionally doing what you were doing. For example, if you had prescription medications on you that were expired, but was not aware that was illegal, you still committed the crime because you intentionally had the medication, regardless of knowing it was illegal. If the State can prove you committed the crime, then you can raise a defense. Main defenses to a crime are as follows:
-JUSTIFICATION= If the person committing the crime reasonably believed their actions were legally justified, regardless of the actions actually being justified by law. This defense is a confusing one because the issue of what is “reasonable” can be unclear.
-NECESSITY=Necessity is another defense that falls under the justification category. Under this category, the if the conduct is necessary to prevent another harm that is significantly more serious, then the conduct is justified.
-PROTECTION OF PERSONS=Protection of persons falls under two categories:
- SELF-DEFENSE &
- DEFENSE OF THIRD PERSON
In this category, it is a defense to a crime if the crime was committed to protect the self or another person.
-PROTECTION OF PROPERTY, similar to protection of persons, has two categories and the explanation is the same:
- PROTECTION OF ONE’S OWN PROPERTY &
- PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON’S PROPERTY
- Parent child=A parent or another person such as grandparent or stepparent acting as the parent of the child can use reasonable force against a child under 18 to maintain discipline.
- Guardian incompetent=A guardian of a mentally incompetent person can use reasonable force for supervision and care of the incompetent to safeguard the incompetent person’s welfare or to maintain discipline of the facility.
- Security officer=A security office may force in preventing a person from escaping custody or to maintain security of a correctional facility.
- Law enforcement=We all know this one.
- Teacher student=A teacher or educator of a program may use reasonable force to further the purpose of the class or maintain discipline.
If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney in North Houston, criminal defense attorney in Houston, criminal defense attorney in Texas, criminal defense attorney in Harris County, or criminal defense attorney in Montgomery County, need more details about any defense, if you have been arrested with a crime, or if you simply want to call to discuss your legal issue, call or email my office. Our phone number is 832-800-5590 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We also travel to different counties including but not limited to Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Ford Bend County, Waller County, and Brazoria