You may have been charged with a crime and are fearful about the process and your future. And you have every right to be scared because (1) the process is daunting; and (2) a conviction can have serious collateral consequences on the quality of your life not only for you but your family. That's why it is ever so important to retain a criminal defense attorney who has the skills, the resources, the commitment, and the recognition to fight for you before the State.
Doug Murphy is that criminal defense attorney. Located in Houston, Texas, but representing clients throughout the Houston metropolitan area, Doug Murphy has:
- the skills as demonstrated by his extensive trial experience in criminal defense throughout the past 20 years, his negotiation skills, his investigative skills, and overall legal strategic capabilities;
- the resources as demonstrated by his network of investigators, expert witnesses, support staff, among others;
- The commitment as demonstrated by his continued support via speaking engagements to help other defense lawyers think strategically and represent their clients better; and
- The recognition as demonstrated by his Board Certification in criminal defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Also voted by his peers as a Texas Super Lawyer and The Best Lawyers in America.
The first thing in criminal defense matters that Doug Murphy wants you to know is this: do not plead guilty no matter how much you think the system is against you. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime, anything less cannot end in a guilty verdict. Also, you may have a viable, justifiable defense -- and if not, Doug Murphy is a criminal defense strategist, so he will hold the prosecutor accountable to the burden of proof. If you have a justifiable defense, it may be an affirmative defense provided by statute or it could be a general defense. Understanding the defenses better can help you understand better what your options are as well as what your risks are for asserting any one of these defenses. In the end, however, Doug Murphy will review your options thoroughly with you so that you can make an informed decision about your own defense strategy and your future.
Affirmative Defenses in Texas
An affirmative defense is a defense that justifies your actions against criminal responsibility. Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code outlines justification excluding criminal responsibility. Justification according to the Texas Penal Code includes:
- Confinement as justifiable force, Section 9.03
- Threats as justifiable force, Section 9.04
- Public duty, Section 9.21
- Necessity, Section 9.22
- Self-defense, Section 9.31
- Deadly force in defense of person, Section 9.32
- Defense of third person (defense of others), Section 9.33
- Protection of life or health, Section 9.34
- Protection of one's own property (defense of property), Section 9.41
- Deadly force to protect property, Section 9.42
- Use of device to protect property, Section 9.44
Even when the prosecutor can prove all the elements of the crime, you can still be acquitted if you raised an affirmative defense. Once an affirmative defense is raised, however, it is the defense team's burden to prove it.
If you raise the issue with Doug Murphy, he will investigate the matter. Evidence of the defense will be required. But to raise an affirmative defense, the defendant must by a preponderance of the evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the facts regarding your defense are more likely than not to be true.
There is one caveat, which Doug Murphy will discuss with you: you must be sure that the prosecution can prove its case against you. To raise an affirmative defense is an admission to the crime. It may be that Doug Murphy can challenge the prosecutor's case against you successfully without the need for raising the affirmative defense.
General Defenses in Texas
A general defense is a defense that can be raised to negate your legal responsibility for a crime. General defenses are defined in Chapter 8 of the Texas Penal Code. They include the following general defenses:
- Insanity, Section 8.01
- Mistake of Fact, Section 8.02
- Mistake of Law, Section 8.03
- Intoxication, Section 8.04
- Duress, Section 8.05
- Entrapment, Section 8.06
- Age Affecting Criminal Responsibility, Section 8.07; and
- Child with Mental Illness, Disability, or Lack of Capacity, Section 8.08.
As in the case of affirmative defenses, if one of these defenses is raised, the onus is on the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that one of these general defenses existed at the time the criminal activity was committed. It is important to remember again, however, that asserting one of these defenses essentially means admitting to the crime. If the prosecution challenges the defense and does so successfully, then you will be convicted. But if you are able to prove that the facts pointing to your general defense were more likely than not true, then you will be acquitted.
Doug Murphy will review your case from all angles and provide to you all your options. His intent is providing the strongest criminal defense for you. He understands the consequences and knows you want to get your life back together as soon as possible. He takes on the challenge and stays committed to it to provide the best outcome in your unique situation.
Contact a Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston, TX Today
If you have been charged with a crime but believe you have an affirmative or general defense, contact Doug Murphy. It takes a seasoned criminal defense attorney like him to raise one of these defenses successfully. Because there are risks involved, you want to make sure you have the best attorney available to you.
Doug Murphy believes each and every client deserves a strong defense. Contact his office either online or at (713) 229-8333 to get started on your strong defense today.