If I’m being charged with assault, what can I do in this situation too defend myself?

I live in Texas, I am 20 years old. I recently moved in with my mother and She would not let me leave the house. After a month had gone by, I tried to leave, and she physically would not let me leave. She stood infront of the door, pushing me away. I eventually managed to use hips to get infront of the door and got out. Come to find out that my mother has now filed assault charges against me. I did not harm/assault her in any way, and she was keeping me against my will. But it is her word against mine. I would just like to know what I can do in this situation. Does she have a case against me?

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have a criminal history, then most likely these charges will be filed as a misdemeanor assault.  Even though it's just a misdemeanor, it is still a serious offense because employers tend to be leary of potential employees who have an assaultive history--- so, the one thing you do not want to do is to accept a plea just because it's the easier thing to do.  Second, you may want to visit with an attorney and do a consulation.  Many will offer a free consulation to review the offense report with you.  You mention that you know she is filing these charges, but don't explain how you know.  If the officer has already written up a report, make an open record request for it so that you can take it to the attorney to review.  He/she may be able to identify inconsistencies in her statement which expose flaws in your mother's story.  Some jurisdictions accept polygraphs to decide when and when not to file a case.  This same attorney may be able to arrange a polygraph with an approved polygrapher to submit to the DA's office. 

When it comes to he/said-she/said situations, it's always the word of one person over the other.  So the more proactive you are at preserving and reviewing the evidence against you, the better the chance you will have at defeating the charge.  She can press charges and technically the use of force against a family member could qualify as an assault, but if you can expose the truth, then you will have a better chance of getting them dismissed.

While you are working on these issues, you should be careful about any other contact with your mother.  Dozens of defendants over the years have reached out to their victims to get them to "drop the charges."  Some do... but sometimes, many DA's will just add another charge of witness tampering.  Also keep in mind that if she filed a false or incomplete report against you once, that she's not above doing it again.  So avoidance of her at this point could save you a bigger headache and more charges.

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