In Texas, simple assaults generally carry misdemeanor charges; however, these charges can escalate quickly. For an aggravated assault Texas delivers a felony charge without exception. Both charges carry considerable fines, fees, and jail time.
Simple Assault in Texas
An individual commits a simple assault if they:
- either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause, or threaten to cause bodily injury to another person
- or intentionally or knowingly engaging in offensive or provocative physical contact with another
Aggravated Assault Texas
An individual commits an aggravated assault if:
- either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person
- and using or exhibiting a deadly weapon while committing an assault offense, including engaging in conduct the victim finds offensive or threatening another with bodily injury
How does Texas define these terms?
- Bodily injury: the physical pain, illness, or any impairment of an individual’s physical condition (for example, cuts, scrapes, bruises).
- Serious bodily injury: an injury that creates a significant risk of death or causes death, permanent disfigurement, or protracted impairment or loss of bodily function (for example, permanent scarring, broken bones, or injuries that require surgery or hospitalization).
- Recklessness: an act committed not necessarily with intent to harm but with flagrant disregard of the outcome (for example, pushing aside someone to get through a crowd could be assault if the act causes the person to fall and is injured).
- Offensive or Provocative Contact: an act that doesn’t cause physical injury or pain but is upsetting &/or causes the victim to feel violated (for example, brushing up against someone in a sexually suggestive manner, physically invading someone’s space, and poking someone during an argument).
- Deadly weapon: any object capable of causing serious bodily injury or death (for example, knives, rope, baseball bats, and firearms). Although, virtually anything can constitute a deadly weapon if it causes serious harm. A spoon can be a weapon if applied to eyes, for instance.
How are Penalties determined?
The penalties levied vary depending on the victim, the level of harm inflicted, and the offender’s criminal history. These circumstances will determine the probation terms, fines, restitution payments, and possible jail time.
Simple Assault Misdemeanor Penalties
- Class A Misdemeanor: encompassing assaults of offensive contact or threats of physical harm specifically to elderly or disabled individuals. Also included are assaults resulting in bodily injury. The resulting penalty is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4K.
- Class B Misdemeanor: encompassing assaults to sports officials or participants during a sporting event or in retaliation after the fact. The penalty is up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2K fine.
- Class C Misdemeanor: encompassing assaults of offensive contact or threats of physical harm to adults without disability or elderly status. The penalty is up to a $500 fine.
Simple Assault Felony Penalties
As mentioned, simple assault can escalate quickly. A third-degree felony is charged in cases that the victim suffers bodily injury as a result and the offender knows the victim is working as a(n):
- security officer
- a public servant
- a government employee, correctional facility contractor, secure treatment contractor, or rehabilitation facility contractor
- emergency services personnel (for example, firefighters or EMTs)
Additionally, the offense will rise to a third-degree felony if the offender has repeatedly committed acts of family violence, domestic assault or the victim is pregnant. The resulting penalties are between 2-10 prison sentences and a maximum fine of $10K.
Furthermore, a simple assault escalates to a second-degree felony if the offender assaults and causes injury to a judge or police officer in response to their official duties. The resulting penalty is a possible prison sentence of 2-20 years.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault Texas
Typically, aggravated assault carries a second-degree felony charge. However, the charge rises to a first-degree felony in the following circumstances, when the offender:
- commits an aggravated assault against a public servant acting in their official capacity (for example, a state worker or counselor)
- uses a deadly weapon while committing domestic assault and causes serious bodily injury to the victim
- commits aggravated assault in retaliation against an informant, witness, or someone who reported a crime
- discharges a firearm from a vehicle directed at a building, house, or vehicle with reckless disregard for possible occupants and causes serious bodily injury to the victim(s)
- commits an aggravated assault knowingly against a security officer or public servant
The penalties for a second-degree felony are a prison sentence between 2-20 years and a maximum fine of $10K. The penalties for a first-degree felony are a prison sentence between 5-99 years and a maximum fine of $10K.
In Texas, for any assault, a judge may order the offender to compensate the victim with restitution. The restitution owed is equivalent to any resulting expenses from the assault, such as repairs to damaged property, medical treatment, or counseling.
A felony conviction can derail a person’s life; we’re here to help. At AZ Law Firm, we will fight to have your charges lessened and seek alternative sentencing to help you carry on with your life as easy as possible.
To find out how we can help you, contact a DWI Lawyer Austin at 512-400-7070 or send us a message for expert Aggravated Assault Texas defense. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your assault case in Texas. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
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