Assault is one of the broadest crimes in terms of scope, and the state of Texas takes claims of assault against another person very seriously. Whether or not you actually cause physical harm to another person is irrelevant in an assault case, and the mere threat of violence is enough to warrant charges. Chris Abel has been defending the rights of his clients accused of assault for years and has a successful track record of defeating these types of claims in court.
Assault is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 22.01 as when an individual “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.”
The crime of assault in Texas can be labeled as a simple assault or aggravated assault. A simple assault results in a threat, no injury, or minor injury and is considered a misdemeanor crime. A simple assault is elevated to an aggravated assault if the incident involved the use of a deadly weapon or resulted in serious bodily injury.
If the simple assault was only a threat or resulted in no injury, the punishment is a Class C misdemeanor. This charge comes with a fine up to $500. If the charge of simple assault resulted in injury, it can be punished as a Class A misdemeanor. This charge comes with a fine up to $4,000 and up to one year in county jail.
However, a simple assault can also be elevated to the level of a third degree felony if you have a previous domestic violence conviction and you commit assault against a family member or someone you are romantically involved with, you assault someone you know is a public servant like a police officer, or you assault an emergency worker or security guard while they are on the job. A third degree felony comes with penalties of a fine up to $10,000 and up to ten years in state prison.
The consequences of an aggravated assault are even more severe and are automatically considered a second degree felony. This charge is punishable with a fine up to $10,000 and a prison sentence between two and twenty years.
There are several defenses available to you against a charge of assault. Some defenses aim at disputing the evidence presented by the prosecution. Other defenses are affirmative and claim that there was a valid reason behind the actions that you took. Some of the most common defenses to assault include:
Unintentional or mistake: If an injury was an accident or mistake then the mental state required for an assault is not present
No offense occurred: This defense is available if the claims made by alleged victim are untrue and the incident in question never took place
Self-defense: You are allowed to use force against another person if you reasonably believe that the person is about to cause you bodily harm or death
Defense of others: Similar to self-defense, you are allowed to use force against a person if you reasonably believe that a person is about to cause bodily harm or death to a third party
Insanity: Similar to an unintentional or mistaken assault, this defense asserts that insanity prevented you from having the intent to commit an assault
Age: Young minors are not considered capable of having the mental state required to commit an assault
Involuntary intoxication: This defense is not available if the intoxication was voluntary. It must be involuntary and negate the ability to form the intent to commit an assault
Mutual combat or consent: This defense is available if the incident occurred during a fight or contact sport where both parties consented to the contact
Many people underestimate the degree of difficulty and seriousness of consequences for an assault charge. If you or someone that you know has been charged with assault in the Tarrant County or Denton County, let Chris Abel defend you in court. Call or contact today to schedule your initial consultation.