Over the past ten years, Texas has taken a hardline stance against assault and has elevated its approach and prosecution of assault charges. An assault charge is a serious matter. The consequences of an assault can follow a person for the rest of his or her life. So, it’s important to hire an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney who can help. You need the attorneys at the Presti Law Firm.
Just because you have been charged with assault does not mean you are guilty of assault. Assault charges are brought against plenty of people who were acting in self-defense or who just had a simple misunderstanding and things got a little out of control. It happens. Unfortunately, even though you were acting in self-defense or maybe just innocently touched someone else your entire reputation can be destroyed. An assault conviction can spill over into other areas of your life that you’re not even thinking about right now such as child custody or immigration.
What are you supposed to do? Call the Presti Law Firm. You’ve got questions and we’ve got the answers.
What forms of Assault are there?
An assault can be anything from a domestic violence charge to a harassment of a public servant charge. Didn’t know that harassment of a public servant was an assault charge? It sure is.
What Is An Assault?
The Texas Penal Code § 22.01 defines an assault as:
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
(3) 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.
Is Assault a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Most assaults are classified as misdemeanors. Depending on the circumstances an assault can be classified as either a Class C, Class B, or Class A misdemeanor. Sometimes, an assault can be elevated to a felony. Again, it depends on the circumstances. For an assault to be elevated to a felony the assault would have to be committed against a person who works for the state such as a peace officer. It doesn’t have to be a peace officer just any public servant. There are certain instances where the person accused of assault against a family member may be charged with a felony assault. It’s important to consult with an experienced criminal attorney to navigate the differences in what you have been charged with and the best approach to that charge.
Below is a list of how Assaults in Texas are classified. This is not meant to be an all-encompassing list that defines assault charges, but rather it is provided to give the reader an idea of what types of charges there are. Again, some of these charges can be elevated depending on the circumstances of the charge.
1st Degree Felony
- Aggravated Assault (by or against a public servant, in retaliation against a prospective witness, informant, or person reporting a crime, against a security officer, or against a family member who suffered serious bodily injury, or during drive-by shooting at a house, building, or vehicle which causes serious bodily injury) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.02(a), (b), (b-3)]
2nd Degree Felony
- Assault (by strangulation or suffocation or against a peace officer or judge) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(1), (b-2)]
- Aggravated Assault (not committed by or against a public servant or in retaliation against a prospective witness, informant, or person reporting a crime, against a security officer, or against a family member who suffered serious bodily injury, or in a drive-by)[Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.02(a), (b)]
3rd Degree Felony
- Assault (against a public servant or a security officer on official duty or a contract employee who works in a correctional or juvenile detention facility or a civil commitment facility) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(1), (b)(1), (b-1)]
- Assault (against a family member if the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense against a family member, including assault, homicide, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, Continuous Family Violence, and indecency with a child, or against a pregnant woman to force an abortion) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(1), (b), (b)(6), (f)
Class A Misdemeanor
- Assault (causing bodily injury) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(1), (b)]
- Assault (offensive physical contact with elderly or disabled individual) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(3), (c)(1)]
Class B Misdemeanor
- Assault (against a sports participant by a non-participant) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(2) and (3), (c)(2)]
Class C Misdemeanor
- Assault (by threatening imminent bodily injury or by causing offensive or provocative physical contact) [Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01(a)(2) and (3), (c)]
What are the Penalties for an Assault?
The type of punishment or penalty that a defendant may receive for an assault varies depending on what the defendant was charged with. Please refer to our website’s criminal penalties pages for further details.
No matter what type of assault you’ve been charged with, it is always recommended that you hire an attorney as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
Contact The Presti Law Firm, PLLC for a FREE consultation on at 214-342-8900