Crimes in the State of Texas: Assault

Suppose you are charged with assault yet you feel you in no way committed the crime. Be aware that the Texas legal system takes a harsh view of any type of criminal assault—and all forms of assault are charged criminally. You must take charges of any type of assault very seriously and hire a criminal assault attorney who will take them just as seriously. In the state of Texas the crime of assault involves some form of violence and, if a weapon was used or injury occurred, the charges and resulting penalties escalate accordingly. While some forms of assault are known as simple assault and may be charged as a misdemeanor they will nonetheless go on your criminal record should you be convicted. Generally speaking a police officer must observe you committing the crime of assault unless it involves domestic violence. If an officer did not see the assault happen then there must be credible eyewitness testimony in order for the state to make their case.

What Constitutes Assault in Texas?
Even if you don’t actually hit, kick or shove another person you could nonetheless be charged with assault. Should another person be in fear that you will harm them—because you threatened to do just that—then you could be charged with assault. In other words if, in a fit of anger, you threatened to bash your boss’s head in and he felt you might actually do so you could be charged with assault. Any physical contact or threat of physical contact which you are fully aware another person would find offensive or unwanted can be considered assault under Texas law. So, while you could be charged with assault because you punched your neighbor in the nose when he backed into your car, you could be similarly charged if you merely threatened to punch him in the nose.

What Penalties Will You Suffer for an Assault Conviction?
Simple assault is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor so long as there were no injuries or very mild injuries as a result of the assault. In a case of simple assault you could still be facing fines of up to $4,000. Supposing you merely pushed or shoved another person it would likely be charged as a Class A misdemeanor unless that person happened to be elderly or a sports officiator. A simple assault charge could be bumped up to a third-degree felony if domestic violence was involved or if it was a public servant, security guard or EMS employee that you assaulted. Should your assault charges be raised to a third-degree felony you could face two to ten years in prison and extensive fines.

Aggravated Assault Charges in Texas
Of course the penalties significantly increase should you use a weapon during the alleged assault. The use of a weapon can turn a relatively minor misdemeanor assault charge into a very serious second-degree felony charge which could land you in a Texas prison for anywhere from two to twenty years along with a fine as high as $10,000. That second-degree felony could quickly become a first-degree felony assault charge if the assault was committed against a public official, a security guard, a witness to a crime or a police informant. First degree felony aggravated assault convictions bring extremely severe penalties. You could face from five years to life in prison plus extensive fines.

Why You Must Hire an Attorney Quickly
If you don’t want the remainder of your life and your freedom to be severely compromised it’s imperative that you hire an experienced assault attorney in your area. If you have not yet been charged, but have a pretty good idea that you will be, don’t wait around. The time you spend hoping you won’t be arrested is time you could have been conferring with a knowledgeable attorney who could be by your side the entire time. Once charged with assault you will need every bit of help available in order to avoid prison time. Although the court-imposed penalties for the crime of criminal assault are serious enough, you may also be left with collateral damage long after your prison sentence is over.

Collateral Damages and a Defense to Your Crime
You may find yourself unable to find employment as well as unable to obtain a student loan in order to continue your education. You will be unable to obtain a professional license once you have a criminal conviction on your record and may even be unable to rent a home or apartment. Your attorney will work hard on your behalf to present a plausible defense to the charges of assault. Perhaps assault—according to the legal definition of the word—did not truly occur or perhaps eyewitness accounts may be challenged. Your assault attorney may choose to offer an affirmative defense which means you committed the crime but with a perfectly legal reason. This scenario could occur if another person was threatening harm to you or your family or attempting to steal something that belonged to you. If you committed the alleged assault under those conditions, then you are well within your legal rights under Texas law.