Zapata, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: I invited one dude to come to my house to fight but he invited two other dudes and they tried to jump me

In my property can I press charges against them for assault and the cops said I can’t arrested them because you invited them but I only invited one person

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2 Lawyer Answers
Vonnie Clay Dones III
Vonnie Clay Dones III
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Although you challenged the assailant to a fight and there is a "Consent as Defense to Assaultive Conduct" defense in Texas, Texas Penal Code - PENAL § 22.06, in this case, it appears that you did not consent to fight any other person and the additional parties involved exceeded the scope of consent you agreed upon. In addition, to satisfy a defense to prosecution, the assailant's conduct must not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury.

Michael Hamilton Rodgers
Michael Hamilton Rodgers
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I agree with Mr. Dones answer from last week. You seem to have issued a limited challenge to one person which would generally give that person the defense of consent in a criminal case. However, as Mr. Dones pointed out the other two assailants had no such fight challenge from you that could justify their assaulting you. Under this analysis, the police should probably have arrested the 2 uninvited ruffians (sorry, always like to use that word).

But here's the problem. You ask if you can, in this situation, press charges. The answer is as follows: In Texas, only the State, through its agencies such as police, sheriffs, and District Attorneys have the ability to "press charges". In Texas, citizens never have a right to press charges on their own but must always pursue a criminal case in connection with a law enforcement agency.

So the answer is no, you cannot press charges. You must persuade the police, sheriff or DA in your city/county to do so. Therefore, just because the police said no, you can still go directly to the DA and talk to one of their investigators to see if you can interest them in filing assault charges.

Go talk to the DA, and good luck!

(Also, you can sue the two bad guys in civil court for the assault even if no criminal charges are filed. Talk to a local civil trial lawyer if you want to try that path.)

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