Assault Charges in Texas
Assault Charges in Texas can result in serious penalties if you are convicted. Attorneys from Spangler Law PLLC can offer valuable information. Contact us now!
Overview of Assault in Texas
A violent crime involving bodily injury like assault is likely to be taken seriously by the prosecution, especially if a deadly weapon is involved or physical harm is caused. Assault in Texas can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on severity and nature.
Regardless of your circumstances, an assault charge in Texas has far-reaching ramifications for your freedom and liberty. That’s why it is essential to seek the services of a vetted criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas, to review your case and advise you of the legal defenses available.
What Are the Charges for Assault in Texas?
Assault occurs in Texas if:
- A person intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to someone, including a spouse or family member.
- Someone knowingly threatens imminent bodily injury to someone else.
- A person knowingly or intentionally causes physical contact with another when they know or should reasonably believe that the other will find it offensive or provocative.
An assault doesn’t always mean assault causing bodily injury. It also includes threats of serious bodily injury to a person that causes reasonable fear and a perceived sense of danger.
When an individual is belligerent or difficult, the police often arrest the suspect without much evidence. Although that doesn’t prove guilt, it can still be an uphill battle to clear your name. No one should be permanently branded as a criminal for a minor altercation.
Contact criminal defense lawyers at Spangler Law to discuss your situation and learn how we might help you avoid a criminal record through a vigorous defense.
Types of Assault Charges
In contrast to other jurisdictions, Texas law uses the term “assault and battery” to mean assault. The State of Texas does not even require you to engage in a physical fight to be charged with assault. The mere act of grabbing a person’s wrist, or even making sexual advances, can result in consequences.
Assault charges can range from a misdemeanor assault charge to first-degree felony charges in Texas.
Simple Assault Charges
In the Lone Star State, assault is defined as willfully or knowingly causing bodily injury to someone, threatening to do so, or insulting or provocative contact.
If it involves offensive contact or threats of injury, it’s classified as a Class C misdemeanor which attracts a fine of up to $500. Should this misdemeanor involve assaulting a sports official or athlete, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor with penalties of 180 days of jail time and a fine of up to $2,000.
An individual who commits a simple assault with minor injuries is can be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail, a maximum fine of $4,000, or both. If the prosecution deems it necessary, it can be elevated to a third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2-10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Additionally, a simple assault on a law enforcement official or a judge is a second-degree felony with penalties of up to 20 years in jail.
In addition to jail/prison time and fines, a conviction may also result in restitution to the victim.
Aggravated Assault Charges
Aggravated assault crimes in Texas involve intentionally causing serious bodily harm to another individual or causing an injury by using a deadly weapon. Serious bodily harm or injury can include fractured or broken bones, scarring, or permanent disability.
On the other hand, any object used to cause someone great bodily harm or death can be considered a deadly weapon. These objects can include a knife, metal pipe, firearm, brick, or baseball bat. Aggravated assault involving great bodily harm or the use of a deadly weapon can be prosecuted as a second-degree felony. If convicted, potential penalties include from 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
But, if the injury the other party sustained is severe and the offense involves domestic violence, the charges can be elevated to a first-degree felony. This offense carries a 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, while the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
Texas Penal Code
According to the Texas penal code, an assault is a felony when it is committed on a specific person. Felony assault happens when the attacker knows that the victim is:
A pregnant person
A member of the emergency response team on duty
A security officer
A public servant
A person in authority doing official duties
A peace officer or judge in the line of duty
When a defendant commits the act in retaliation to the victim’s official duties, it carries second-degree criminal penalties. The prison term may range from two to twenty years if you are found guilty.
The offense of aggravated assault on a spouse, domestic partner, informant, witness, security guard, police officer, or other public official constitutes a first-degree crime. Texas also considers aggravated assault to occur when there is a significant injury is caused or when a weapon is used. A first-degree felony can carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years up to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
What Happens After Assault Charges Are Filed in Texas
After an assault is reported to the police, they will arrest and charge the defendant with the criminal offense based on the victim’s account and the evidence.
If you’ve been charged with assault, you will make your first court appearance before a magistrate in Texas. The hearing is called an arraignment. You will be read your rights, including the right to an attorney, and informed of the allegations against you.
The prosecution will have to prove probable cause for your arrest in an examination trial, another legal protection you’ll enjoy. The judge will schedule your next court date and bond amount or let you go free on your recognizance.
Can Assault Charges be Dropped in Texas?
Prosecutors are hesitant to withdraw cases involving family violence assault even when there is insufficient evidence to convict the accused. Gathering statements from witnesses and, if possible, the victim themselves can be invaluable evidence.
If your criminal law attorney receives these statements and other evidence, they can negotiate with the State to reduce or dismiss your assault charges. If the victim is willing, they will try to get an affidavit stating the victim’s decision not to press charges. With an affidavit of non-prosecution, they may be able to get the charges dropped.
Fighting Assault Charges in Texas
If you’ve been charged with assault, make sure you hire a criminal defense attorney who can effectively represent your interests in court. There are several advantages to hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you. If you hire an attorney from Spangler Law, we will:
- Represent you in all dealings with the law and the government.
- Look over the specifics of the claimed assault that the prosecution presented. It’sIt’s essential to gather proof to back up your account of events.
- Explore the circumstances surrounding your arrest to see if any violations of your rights occurred.
- Try to talk the prosecution into dropping, reducing, or dropping the accusations against you.
- Create evidence to get you to trial and a favorable verdict.
Get help from a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience defending individuals against assault charges.
Facing Assault Charges? Spangler Law is at Your Service!
Spangler Law is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas, with a track record of resolving more than 2,000 criminal defense cases favorably. No matter what charges you are facing, we will passionately advocate for you and use our legal knowledge and skill to fight your case to obtain a favorable outcome. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.