An assault or aggravated assault charge is a serious allegation in Texas, especially if the alleged victim is your spouse, family member, or in a dating relationship with you. An assault conviction can result in jail or prison time and substantial fines, and will bring about many disadvantages and negative consequences in your life, so it is important to retain a skilled, knowledgable, and experienced criminal defense attorney who will obtain the best outcome for you.
Assault Laws in Texas
In Texas, assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific allegations of the case, the injuries suffered, the type of victim, and whether a deadly weapon was used.
The Texas Penal Code states that a person commits an assault if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, threatens another with imminent bodily injury, or causes physical contact with another when he knows or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Bodily injury is defined as physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
Aggravated assault is a felony offense in Texas. An aggravated assault is an assault that results in “serious bodily injury” to another person, or when a deadly weapon is displayed or used during the commission of the assault.
Serious bodily injury is defined as bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
An aggravated assault that causes serious bodily injury and that also involves the display or use of a deadly weapon is a special type of criminal offense in Texas, as the law prevents a Judge from granting you probation in such a case.
Range of Punishment
An assault is a Class C misdemeanor if it consists of threats of bodily harm, or where the allegation is “offensive physical contact” resulting in no bodily injury. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 plus court costs. However, a conviction for a Class C assault will still cause you to have a criminal record.
If the assault causes someone bodily injury (e.g., physical pain, a bruise, a scratch, etc.) then under Texas law the assault charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 365 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.00.
An assault against a spouse, family member, or someone in a dating relationship with you is a Class A misdemeanor if the assault causes bodily injury to that person. These types of cases are commonly referred to as “domestic violence” or “family violence” charges. However, if the State alleges that you impeded the victim’s airway during the assault (choking or squeezing the victim’s neck), the case is enhanced to a 3rd degree felony, which carries a punishment of 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
Aggravated assault is generally a 2nd degree felony charge in Texas, punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. In certain cases, an aggravated assault charge can be enhanced to a 1st degree felony, which carries a punishment of 5-99 years, or life, in prison.
How are Assault Charges Usually Resolved?
I have defended many individuals accused of assault, family violence, and aggravated assault in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Collin County, and Denton County. In each case, I conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and evidence in order to evaluate the strength of the case against you, analyze the nature and extent of any alleged injuries suffered by the victim, determine if the alleged victim intends to cooperate with the prosecutor and testify against you, and identify whether you have a self-defense claim or other valid legal defense.
Every assault or family violence assault case I have handled ultimately has resulted in a dismissal of the charge, either prior to trial or after a probationary period. Many of the felony aggravated assault cases I have handled were dismissed, or reduced to misdemeanors.
If you are facing an assault, family violence, or aggravated assault charge in Texas, contact me today so I can discuss the facts of your case with you, answer any questions you have, and explain to you the tactical strategies I can use to achieve the best outcome possible in your case.