myself and my spouse had a small fight yesterday. My wife started with abusive shout, later she hit me. In order to protect myself, even she got hit unknowingly from me. My spouse called police. Police has issued ticket for Class c, citation assault-D and told to appear in court after 7 days within 21 days.Please advise.
There are two ways a person can commit a class C theft.
The first is by intentionally or knowingly threatening to do something painful to another person. The threat must be imminent, not conditional up some future event. For example, "I'm about to kick your butt" is assault but "One of these days I'm going to kick your butt for talking to me like that" is unpleasant (and possibly abusive) but it is not assault.
The second way to commit class C assault is by intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact when you know, or should reasonably believe, that the other person will find the contact offensive. Common ways to commit this offense are spitting on someone, an aggressive chest-bump, or shoving them... but in a way that does not cause pain.
The scenario posted above involves actual hitting... which typically DOES cause pain. If that was the case then I suppose you are lucky that the officer didn't make a case for class A misdemeanor assault, which is punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail and a fine up to $4,000.
Self-defense is an excellent defense to assault because it is a legal justification for the use of force. When there is evidence of self defense, the attorney representing the accused can request a special instruction to the jury, that the defendant can't be convicted if they have even a reasonable doubt that the force meets the legal definition of justified self defense. Not all self defense is justified. For example, if you slap me, I can use reasonable force to protect myself, but if I chopped your hand off with a sword that would probably not be seen as reasonable... unless maybe you had a gun in your other hand. As you can see, what is "reasonable" depends on the circumstances. There are other situations where the use of force is not justified, you can read all about it here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm#9.31
You should get an attorney to handle this matter because it is important to do everything possible to get a result that will leave the case eligible for expunction. Assault is violent crime and domestic violence is judged very harshly in modern polite society. You don't want to spend the rest of your life explaining "its not what you think" to employers and others. It will probably cost more than just paying the fine. It might cost 10x more. But if you get a dismissal that can be expunged then it will be WORTH 100x more to avoid the label of "wife beater."
Avvo Q&A does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
In addition to Ms. Pace's excellent answer, you should also consider that if there is a finding of domestic violence, or if you plead guilty to domestic violence at any level, the next time someone accuses you of domestic violence, it will be an automatic felony - even if just by threat, i.e., Ms. Pace's "I'm gonna kick your butt." Also, you will never legally own a firearm again. Very serious consequences, indeed. Get a lawyer.
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