Facing an Assault Conviction?
Intentional harm inflicted on another person can be qualified as assault, aggravated assault, and even battery. If a crime has an element of a physical attack, then there is usually an assault or battery charge associated with it. Even if the attack was two-sided, as in cases of fighting, both parties can still get charged with assault no matter who started it. The law also states that even the intent of harming someone is the same thing as assaulting them, and that even if the victim isn’t actually harmed, police officers can still arrest the defendant.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is assault under Texas law?
Under the Texas Penal Code sec. 22.01, a person commits an assault if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, including the person’s spouse. Additionally, someone can be charged with assault if they simply threaten another person, even if the action isn’t carried out. Lastly, the Texas Penal Code outlines that when a person causes physical contact with another person when the person knows that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative, that is regarded as assault.
Is there a difference between assault and battery?
At one point in time, assault and battery were actually considered two separate criminal charges. Assault was the charge for the threat of violence while battery was used to indicate that physical violence actually occurred against the victim. Nowadays, for the most part, they are one in the same and courts make no differentiation.
What is the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault?
States divide assault into two categories that are based on the severity of the harm that occurred (or would have occurred): simple assault and aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is the more serious of the two, carrying a felony charge for serious acts that involve a weapon, intent to commit a serious crime such as rape, or against children, the mentally ill, or elderly. Simple assault is classified as a misdemeanor when all of the previous aspects of aggravated assault ‘ are absent (ie- no weapon, no serious harm or intent, and not against specially protected individuals under the law).
Is making a verbal threat considered assault?
No. Words alone won’t lend themselves to an assault charge, and often empty threats are attributed to the heat of the moment. It’s believed that in order to be assault, the act must be overt. If words are coupled with some sort of action that ‘ indicates a looming threat, then assault enters into the picture. For example, a verbal threat isn’t enough to be considered assault, but if a verbal threat is paired with a closed fist and a lunge toward the victim, then an assault charge could certainly enter into the equation at that point. The victim could easily argue intent, which is the basis of not just assault laws, but many other criminal laws too.
What types of assault defenses are there?
Self-defense: Self defense is defined as the act of using force, or threatening force, to defend yourself when in danger of imminent harm from another person. This defense will not work if you had provoked the other person. It can only be used as a successful defense if you have a justifiable reason for using force against another person.
Affirmative defense: This is one of the most common assault charge defenses in Texas. Essentially, you admit to committing the actions claimed by the court, but you also provide evidence to prove why your actions were justified.
Attempt to dispute the evidence: Instead of admitting that you committed the actions claimed by the court, in this defense you would deny it. Additionally, you have to dispute evidence presented by the persecution, which includes witness testimony.
Do I need a lawyer?
Your attorney should always discuss the type of defense that will be taken if you face an assault charge. If you have been charged with assault and seek high quality criminal defense legal representation contact us today.
Punishments for Assault Charges
An assault conviction can change your life. Simple assault is defined as a Class A misdemeanor in Texas and is punishable by up to one year in a county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. However, if aspects of your case match up with the following, then your charge can be automatically bumped up to a more severe, third-degree felony charge:
You have a previous domestic violence conviction and commit assault against a family member or romantic interest
You assault someone you know is a public servant or government contractor
You assault an emergency worker or security worker while they are doing their job
Typically in Texas, third-degree felonies will cost you between 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If a weapon is used during the assault or if a serious injury occurs, you can be charged with aggravated assault which is a second-degree felony in Texas and can be punished by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Secure Your Rights
When you’ve been charged with an assault, you need a caring legal defense team. At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, we are passionate about listening to our clients and fighting for their rights. We will work to build an aggressive strategy against the prosecution to represent your interests in court.
Blair Carroll has worked in criminal defense since graduating law school and is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
Meredith “Shelly” Troberman has experience working for both the defense and prosecution in criminal cases. She leverages her unique perspective on criminal proceedings and ample experience with the Travis County Court in each of her clients’ cases.
Contact Us Today
If you’ve been charged with assault, you need to seek legal help immediately. The longer you wait to call an attorney, the less chance you have of getting your case dismissed. Contact Carroll Troberman, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation at 512-478-3800.