It is a scenario you can easily imagine: a family argument over a particularly contentious topic grows heated. In the midst of the conflict, as things get louder they also become physical. The police arrive to calm matters. The question arises, did you commit domestic violence during the back-and-forth or were you actually engaged in self-defense.
When battery occurs, meaning there was some evidence of physical injury, it is likely that police will assign charges, which is their responsibility. Determining the validity of charges against you is up to the court system, which uses the Texas Family Code as its guide. It is helpful for you to know the definitions of self-defense and family violence under state law.
Texas law allows you to defend yourself
The right to self-protection is well-established under state law. The Penal Code defines the use of force to defend yourself as justifiable to the extent necessary at the moment to protect yourself from harm.
The state has a clear definition of family violence
Under the Texas Family Code, family violence involves an intentional act on your part to cause physical harm to someone else in your family. The code takes the broader view of exactly what constitutes a family so that it covers actions between people who are not married or legally kin.
In retrospect, the actions needed to protect yourself from injury as opposed to causing injury to others may be difficult to ascertain. Because of the potential consequences of a family violence charge, it is essential to determine if you were committing assault or defending yourself.