Assault in Texas
An assault charge in Texas has the possible to come with harsh consequences legally, in addition as professionally. If convicted, an assault will not only bring with it possible jail time and costly fines, it will also stay on your long-lasting record for the public to see. Knowing the criminal course of action involved will give you the understanding you need to approach the situation in the correct manner, increasing you chances of the charges being reduced or possibly dismissed.
Awareness of the difficult situation you are in, along with a well-developed and logical defense strategy mapped out by a qualified attorney should give you the tools necessary to effectively fight the charges in and move on with your life.
Assault under Texas Law
The definition of assault is provided in section §22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, which states that an individual can be charged with assault if they:
• deliberately, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to someone else, including your spouse.
• deliberately or knowingly, threaten someone else, including your spouse, with imminent bodily injury.
• deliberately or knowingly, cause physical contact with another when the person knows, or should reasonably believe, that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
The law is framed in this manner to affirm that you will be charged with assault not only if you become physical with another, but already if you threaten violence without already laying a hand on another. All the other person needs is a “reasonable fear” that you are able and willing to commit assault.
If convicted of simple assault that resulted in minor injuries, you will most likely be dealing with a Class A Misdemeanor. This particular charge comes with a presumptive sentence of up to one year in jail and / or fines of up to $4000.
A simple assault that only involved threatening or touching is commonly considered a Class C Misdemeanor, which can bring with it a presumptive fine of up to $500. If the threatening assault was against an elderly person or a sports official or referee, you may be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, where the possible sentence is up to 180 days in jail and / or up to $2,000 in fines (§12.22).
The charges will become closest more sever if the assault was committed upon a specific types of individuals. A simple assault may be considered a Third Degree Felony if the prosecution can prove that you:
• Committed the assault against a family member or someone with whom you are in a romantic relationship, and you have a past domestic violence conviction.
• Knew the person was a public servant or government contractor carrying out official duties, or you committed the assault on a public servant in retaliation for doing his or her job.
• Knew the person was a security guard or emergency sets worker, and you committed the assault while the person was doing his or her job.
A third degree felony comes with a presumptive sentence of between two and ten years and / or fines of up to $10,000 (§12.34).
As you can see, there is a wide-ranging definition of assault in the state of Texas, which brings with it the possibility of charges arising from many different situations. Keeping the broadness of the law in mind, having a defense that proves you either did not commit the assault or that you had legal reason to assault another (termed an affirmative defense), will provide you with the opportunity to effectively argue your case with an increased possibility to reduce or dismiss the charges.