When facing assault charges in Texas, it is important for you to consult with a criminal defense attorney. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, the court will be responsible for appointing a public defender who will advocate for you in your case.
But what exactly is considered assault in Texas, and what should you know about this specific type of case? Here’s some information that will be helpful to you as you prepare your defense.
Texas assault laws
Assault in Texas is generally defined as an intentional act that causes another person to have reasonable fear you will cause them physical harm. You do not actually have to cause physical harm to be considered guilty of assault—mere threats of harm are sufficient to warrant assault charges and convictions.
You could pull out a knife or a firearm to threaten another person, but never actually use that weapon, and still be found guilty of assault. It doesn’t even matter if the gun wasn’t loaded—the person facing the gun likely doesn’t know this, and therefore has just cause to fear for their personal safety.
This is why battery is often paired with assault charges. Assault is the act of making a threat to another person’s physical wellbeing, while battery is the actual physical harm caused to the victim.
Types of actions that can result in assault charges in Texas include:
- Threatening another person with imminent bodily injury
- Intentionally causing bodily injury
- Intentionally causing physical contact with another person when you know the other person will consider that contact offensive
Penalties and defenses
There are a variety of ways assault can be penalized in Texas. Simple assault, which involves minor injury, is a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. If there is only a threat and no injury, it is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. However, assault charges can be bumped up to felonies if the suspect had previous violent crime convictions, if the target of the assault was a public servant or government employee or if the target was an emergency worker doing their job. Use of a weapon might be classified as aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
There are a couple primary defenses used in assault cases. The first is to dispute the evidence presented by the prosecuting attorneys, which will rely on your ability to present evidence in your favor and refute their testimony. The other common type of defense is self-defense, in which you were required to use force or a threat of force to protect yourself or another person when there was an imminent danger of harm.
For more information about the best methods of defense for your assault case, we encourage you to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Lubbock, TX at the Law Office of Rob Biggers. We understand the Texas assault laws and are prepared to work on your behalf.
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