Consider the Texas Child Safety Laws found here: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm#545.412
It says in one place:
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was operating the vehicle in an emergency or for a law enforcement purpose.
And a little lower it says:
(b) It is a defense to prosecution of an offense to which this section applies that the defendant provides to the court evidence satisfactory to the court that:
(1) at the time of the offense:
(A) the defendant was not arrested or issued a citation for violation of any other offense;
(B) the defendant did not possess a child passenger safety seat system in the vehicle; and
(C) the vehicle the defendant was operating was not involved in an accident; and
(2) subsequent to the time of the offense, the defendant obtained an appropriate child passenger safety seat system for each child required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a).
Is "it is a defense to the prosecution" something that just suggests that the judge may, at his or her discretion, rule in favor of the defendant when s/he meets the conditions, or is this saying that the defendant, under the law, should definitely not be held guilty when proving these conditions were met?
In the first example, I would expect the defendant to be not guilty even if brought to court on multiple occasions. In the latter example, I would assume the defendant would only be let off the hook the first time but that s/he would be guilty in subsequent cases.
So to me common sense dictates that "it is a defense to the prosecution" is not a binding statement that requires the defendant be let off the hook but rather than it's at the discretion of the judge, but I just wanted to verify that this is accurate.