How can assault have a necessity defense?
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How can assault have a necessity defense?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In Texas, if you face charges for a crime, you may be able to justify your acts through the necessity defense. The necessity defense is an affirmative defense and a defense that can explain your conduct.

If you had no choice but to harm another person to protect yourself, you may not have criminal culpability.

Were you in imminent danger?

One of the most important elements of the necessity defense is that you have to believe in the necessity of your conduct. At the time of the assault, did you fear imminent harm? For example, if another person tries to attack you, you can respond in self-defense. Likewise, if you see someone attacking another person, you can use force to help them.

Keep in mind that imminent danger refers to the incident itself. You cannot take action against someone out of fear of future threats.

Did you act reasonably?

Your actions under the necessity defense must not be unreasonable. When you use the necessity defense, a jury must consider the harm you caused with the action and the harm you avoided through the action. The person must also pose an actual or credible threat. For example, if someone makes a threat as a joke or if the threat is hyperbole, you do not have a defense against assault.

Jurors decide reasonable actions by considering how they would act in a similar situation. For instance, if someone witnesses an assault against someone they love, they are likely to hit or strike the assailant to protect the other person.

In some cases, if you can prove the necessity defense, the prosecution may drop assault charges entirely.