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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Montgomery County Criminal Defense Attorney - Top 5 worst excuses that are sometimes actually true.

Montgomery County Texas Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law

When I used to be a prosecutor I would hear every story imaginable. No matter what the fact pattern there was always some reason that the person shouldn't be punished. Some were more creative than others. But here are some that actually can turn out to be true and could mean that criminal charges should not be filed.

5. "I didn't know that was against the law" If you have ever heard Ignorance of the law is no defense that is generally true. Except that it is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the actor reasonably believed the conduct charged did not constitute a crime and that he acted in reasonable reliance upon: (1) an official statement of the law contained in a written order or grant of permission by an administrative agency charged by law with responsibility for interpreting the law in question; or (2) a written interpretation of the law contained in an opinion of a court of record or made by a public official charged by law with responsibility for interpreting the law in question. So there is still a slight chance that "I didn't know that was against the law" could work!

4. "I forgot" You forgot? You just forgot that a handgun was sitting in the center console of your vehicle and you are a felon? Really? Well this can absolutely be true. If a friend or loved one who is allowed to carry a firearm has driven the car recently it may not be the defendant that forgot but their loved one who left the firearm in the car concealed in the center console where the defendant may not have checked before driving the vehicle to the store. If there is no evidence that a defendant intentionally or knowingly possessed a firearm then there will be no offense of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

3. "He hit me first" Now most of the time I hear this its between kids from 5-7 years old. But every now and then "he hit me first" is actually a legal defense. Under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code you may act in self defense even if you haven't been hit first. "A person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force." Texas Penal Code 9.31.

2. "I only had two drinks." Okay sure you did buddy. That's what the officer is thinking after you have failed the field sobriety tests and say that you only had two drinks. Or maybe , "How big of drinks were they!" Well I had a case recently where this was precisely the situation and the video looked awful on the one leg stand. But this client only had two drinks. I know because I had the surveillance video from the places he went that night and counted the drinks as only two. And when the blood alcohol came back it was a .019 which was entirely consistent with the timing of drinks and his height and weight. He just had atrocious balance and smelled like alcohol. This can be enough to get you arrested but thankfully not enough to get you convicted.

1. "These aren't my pants." When a police officer stops you and has reasonable suspicion that you may have a weapon then they are allowed to conduct what is called a terry frisk. If during a terry frisk the officer feels something in your pocket that they "immediately recognize" as contraband then they can remove and seize the item. This is called the plain feel doctrine. Well if what they feel is drugs the excuse I've heard most often is, "these aren't my pants." Well I used to think that was the worst excuse I'd ever heard. But then I saw the inside of a crack house during a search warrant. There were clothes everywhere, there were people everywhere. Nobody could tell how long they had been there or where they really were. It was entirely plausible to think that before heading out of the house to get some taco bell you might put on someone else's pants and not realize that there was contraband inside. Of course this depends on how much. A brick of cocaine feels different than a baggie with residue only. So before you think that this is absolutely the worst excuse you've ever heard take a listen to the video and see how genuine the shock and surprise sounds from the defendant. Thanks for reading.


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