Types of Assault Charges in Texas
In more basic terms, assault is a charge a person will face after they have been involved in some sort of violence. However, violence never has to actually occur for a person to be charged with assault. Assault can also be charged for verbally threatening a person, or even threatening them through only posts, tweets, or email. Charges for committing violence are called battery, but battery and assault are sometimes charged together.
There are misdemeanor and felony levels of assault, and the charges can vary depending on whether a weapon was used, whether someone was hurt, and the overall circumstances of the incident. These differences in what constitutes assault are reason to hire an attorney if you have been charged with any kind of assault.
Aggravated assault occurs when someone threatens or attacks someone while in the possession of a weapon. Possession of weapons that could enhance a simple assault charge to an aggravated assault charge include: handguns, rifles, firearms in general, a knife, sword, or anything else that could be deemed a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault is a felony in Texas, and a conviction carries heavy fines and jail time.
Simple Assault & Domestic Assault
People who are legally arrested on the spot for simple assault—which is a misdemeanor– were either seen by the police committing the act, or were charged with a domestic assault. Otherwise a police officer must give a suspect a notice to appear in court at a later date, or they must ask for a warrant to arrest the suspect.
If you have been issued a summons or have been arrested for assault, it is important to hire an assault lawyer. Even a simple assault charge can result in a jail sentence of up to 1 year, and a possible fine of thousands of dollars. A simple assault charge can be increased to a third-degree felony by the prosecutor, which my result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Common reasons for prosecutors to increase a misdemeanor assault to felony assault can include:
- An assault was committed against a family member or romantic partner, or the suspect has a previous domestic assault conviction.
- The person charged was a public servant or government contractor, or the victim was a public servant or government contractor, assaulted while performing their job.
- The victim was a security guard, or someone working as an emergency services worker, who was assaulted while doing their job.
If a person caused serious injury by using a weapon while committing an assault, they could face an aggravated assault charge, which is a second-degree felony with penalties of 2 to 20 years. This charge can be elevated if it involved domestic violence, or if the victim was a public official, a security guard, someone law enforcement was using as an informant, or if the victim was a witness to a crime.
Hire a Defense Attorney for Assault Charges
The two main defenses against an assault charge are that the person being accused disputes the assault happened, or the person charged with assault claims that they were protecting themselves or someone else. In the first defense, an attorney will attempt to prove that the assault never occurred. In the second defense, an attorney attempts to show that the circumstances prove the ‘assault’ occurred while trying to protect someone from bodily harm.
Assault is not a charge that should be taken lightly, and someone accused of assault should never attempt to venture through the court process on their own. It is important to have legal representation to defend the accused, and to protect them from excessive penalties. Contact our assault charge defense attorneys today to schedule a free case review.