Reliable Representation for Assault Accusations – Arlington, TX – Complimentary Consultation
In the event that you or someone you know has encountered an arrest over assault allegations in Tarrant County or Arlington, Texas, assistance is at hand. Jeffrey Hampton is a seasoned attorney specializing in assault cases, possessing in-depth knowledge of the Texas criminal legislation and the intricacies of the Tarrant County judicial system. When confronted with felony or misdemeanor assault accusations, the legal practitioners at The Hampton Law Firm are the allies you necessitate to safeguard your rights.
According to the Texas Penal Code, Section 5: Offenses Against Individuals, Section 22.01, the Texas state authorities are obligated to establish certain criteria of an assault allegation beyond a shadow of doubt to substantiate the charges against you. The prosecuting attorneys have to demonstrate that you deliberately inflicted physical injury, posed a violent threat or harm, or initiated contact with an individual in a manner that they found objectionable or instigative.
We Represent Clients Accused of Felony & Misdemeanor Assault, including:
- Aggravated Assault
- Misdemeanor Assault
- Assault Resulting in Severe Physical Injury
- Intoxication Assault
- Domestic Violence Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Assault Against a Government Official
…and other charges related to violent conduct or threats. Contact our legal firm to evaluate the potential of representing your case.
Assault Offenses in Texas Explained:
Aggravated Assault: As per the Texas Penal Code Ann. § 22.02, an aggravated assault takes place when an assault is accompanied by causing significant bodily harm to another, including cases concerning domestic violence aimed at the offender’s spouse. The seriousness of the charges can escalate to a third-degree felony, especially if it involves a public servant or is connected with domestic violence.
The type and degree of charges depend heavily on the extent of injuries inflicted or the involvement of a deadly weapon during the incident. Presence of these aggravating elements might elevate the case to a second-degree felony, potentially leading to a prison sentence of up to 20 years and fines reaching $10,000. Hence, acquiring the services of an attorney specializing in assault cases is highly recommended.
Misdemeanor Assault: Contrary to many states, Texas encompasses both battery (physical harm or offensive touch) and assault (genuine threat of battery) under the umbrella of assault charges as delineated in Texas Penal Code Ann. § 22.01. A misdemeanor assault, devoid of exacerbating elements, is characterized as:
Directly causing bodily harm or injury knowingly, deliberately, or recklessly.
Threatening an individual or their partner/spouse with physical harm or violence, intentionally or knowingly, without making physical contact.
Intentionally or knowingly instigating physical contact to annoy or offend the other party, which might include gestures like touching the shoulder, tapping the back, or unintentional brush.
A preliminary instance of misdemeanor assault, lacking aggravating elements, is labeled as a class C misdemeanor, which generally doesn’t involve jail time but could entail a penalty up to $500 and a criminal record showcasing violent behavior.
Sexual Assault: As stated in Texas Penal Code Ann. § 22.011, sexual assault is committed when an individual knowingly or intentionally engages in sexual contact or penetration without the consent of the other party. This encompasses actions towards individuals who are incapacitated, under the influence of substances, or manipulated to engage in sexual activities due to mental health conditions limiting their comprehension or resistance capabilities. Without prior convictions or aggravating circumstances, this offense is considered a second-degree felony in Texas.
Assault Resulting in Severe Physical Injury: This type of assault, according to Texas Penal Code § 1.07, is where the victim encounters profound injuries or loss of life. It can lead to charges of a second-degree felony in Texas, with the potential for escalated charges depending on various factors including the involvement of weapons or if the victim was a family member.
Please note, to levy the charge of assault, the prosecution needs to validate that the action was committed with intention, knowledge, or recklessness, barring self-defense scenarios.
Additionally, certain circumstances can elevate a simple assault to an aggravated level, including the use of objects for inflicting harm, causing substantial risk of death or permanent impairment, or attacking public officials, elderly individuals, or those with whom the accused shares a close relationship. Depending on the severity of aggravating factors and previous criminal history, the charges might vary from a higher-level misdemeanor to felony-level offenses.
Variation in Assault Charge Severity in Texas Based on the Victim
Assault cases in Texas often derive from multiple underlying motives. An individual who succumbs to anger and strikes another person in a bar is not necessarily perceived as perilous as one who attacks a police officer executing their duty. Texas acknowledges that not every assault situation warrants identical charges.
If you find yourself facing assault charges or apprehend a possible charge shortly, it’s essential to revisit the event details. Ponder over your connection with the supposed victim and their activities during the episode. Did their job duties coincide with the time of the incident?
These queries might appear minor, but the state of Texas significantly weighs the identity of the purported victim and their engagement at the time of the assault. Typically, charges might escalate if the victim has a specific role or connection to the accused person.
Here’s an outline of categories of individuals that might influence the gravity of assault charges. If the victim in your case aligns with any of these categories, consult with a defense attorney without delay. Your defense approach might vary depending on the nature of the victim involved in the occurrence.
Participants in Sports Events
We are all aware of the tensions that can escalate during a closely contested game. Interestingly, in Texas, assaulting a sportsperson generally attracts lesser penalties compared to other forms of assault.
Nevertheless, getting infuriated over an unfavorable call from a referee does not justify aggression. The Texas legal system specifically categorizes assaulting a sports player by an audience member or fan as a class B misdemeanor, especially when the assault arises from the player’s actions or decisions during the game. Unprovoked attacks on individuals who happen to be athletes don’t necessitate heightened charges.
Individuals who are Elderly, Disabled, or Pregnant
In Texas, the elderly or disabled enjoy higher protections compared to the young or more physically capable individuals. An assault on individuals from these groups can escalate to a third-degree felony. Similarly, if an assault targets a pregnant woman with the intention of harming the fetus, it is treated as a severe felony charge.
Individuals in Specific Occupations
A person’s occupation can significantly influence the gravity of assault charges one might face. Attacking a law enforcement officer in active duty, entrusted with community safety, is viewed as a graver offense compared to an assault on an ordinary citizen.
An assault on individuals holding the following positions might lead to class A misdemeanor assault charges:
- Peace officers
- Security personnel
- Public officials
- Emergency services staff, including volunteers
Individuals contracted with the state (like Child Protective Services workers)
Notably, for escalated charges to apply, the victim should be undertaking their job responsibilities during the assault. An off-duty peace officer assaulted randomly won’t lead to elevated charges.
Your Partner or Romantic Interest
In 2016, Texas witnessed the murder of 146 women at the hands of intimate partners. Domestic violence is alarmingly prevalent, potentially leading to more significant violent events, including potential mass shootings, some experts argue.
The relationship between the accused and the alleged victim becomes a crucial factor here. In cases of domestic violence, different penalties apply. A situation is labeled as “domestic” or “family” violence when the accused inflicts bodily harm to:
- A family member
- A household member (like a roommate)
- A current or former romantic partner
Domestic violence is treated as a third-degree felony in Texas, accompanied by added consequences. Federal laws prohibit convicts from possessing or acquiring firearms, and they might also be subject to restraining orders or specialized counseling.
Additional Elements Escalating Assault Charges in Texas
Even if your case doesn’t align with the above classifications, remaining vigilant is advisable. Various other elements can escalate the charges against you, including:
- Previous assault convictions
- Utilizing or threatening with a firearm or lethal weapon
- Sexual assault
- Inflicting serious bodily harm
Every case of assault in Texas has unique characteristics. Staying well-informed about your specific charges can aid in constructing a robust defense strategy.
Factors Determining the Penalties for Assault Offences in Texas
The categorization of an assault as a misdemeanor or felony in Texas hinges on the case specifics and the extent of injuries sustained. If the assault didn’t cause bodily harm and was merely offensive touching, it falls under a Class C Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
In cases where the assault results in bodily injury, it is deemed a Class A Misdemeanor, attracting up to a year in county jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.
Furthermore, according to the Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Section 22.01(b), assaults against known public servants discharging their official duties, or in retaliation for their official actions, can be elevated to a third-degree felony. Convictions under this category can lead to up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Facing assault charges in Texas can be a significant burden, potentially leaving an indelible mark of violent criminal activity on your record, which can adversely affect various facets of your life, including:
- Job opportunities
- Academic pursuits
- Custodial rights
It is thus vital to craft a robust defensive plan to counteract or mitigate the allegations against you. The most suitable defense plan will be contingent on the specifics surrounding the purported incident.
Your lawyer will meticulously scrutinize the details of your case to formulate a defense that leverages the evidence present, both incriminating and exonerating. Typically, the defense strategies might encompass:
Claiming self-defense where it can be proven that you were responding to a genuine threat, had apprehensions of potential harm, did not initiate or harm anyone beforehand, and could not escape the situation.
Defending another individual or property against actual or imminent danger.
Establishing that the purported victim had given consent for the encounter, like in a prearranged altercation.
It is essential to understand the gravity of assault charges and to act swiftly to stave off the devastating repercussions of a conviction. A skilled attorney specializing in assault cases will discuss various potential defenses with you, analyzing the potential risks and advantages of each to choose the most beneficial course for your case. If you are located in North Texas, consider reaching out to The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC, for expert legal advice.
Understanding the Severity of Hate Crime Assault in Texas
The enactment of the Texas Hate Crime Act serves as a significant proclamation to the inhabitants of Texas, demonstrating a zero tolerance policy towards hate crimes. Yet, there are some like Kim Ogg, the Harris County District Attorney, who assert that the relatively lower conviction rates indicate the law’s inefficiency in protecting Texas’ minority communities.
There seems to be a consensus that despite the criticisms, Texas has made considerable progress over the past two decades in enforcing stringent penalties for hate crimes, especially assault. The disparity in the ramifications of a regular assault and a hate crime assault is markedly apparent.
A Glimpse into the Evolution of Texas Hate Crime Laws
The Texas Hate Crimes Act categorizes hate crimes as acts spurred by prejudice, hostility, or the advocacy of violence. It includes incidents documented under Public Law 101-275, also known as the Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act.
Though initiatives to introduce legislation against hate crimes commenced in 1993 in Texas, progression was stalled due to conservative apprehensions about extending protection to the LGBTQ community. The scenario changed dramatically following the horrific 1998 Jasper murder incident. However, it wasn’t until 2001 that the Texas Hate Crimes Act was officially signed into law by then-Governor Rick Perry.
This law mandated all Texas law enforcement agencies to document bias-motivated offenses to the Department of Public Safety, acknowledging such acts as a menace to the wellbeing of Texans.
The Contemporary Relevance of the Law in Assault Cases in Texas
The Texas Penal Code stipulates that crimes committed with an underlying tone of bias or prejudice will incur heightened penalties, escalating to the next severe category of offense. A case in point is a recent incident where two individuals used the dating app Grindr to set up a meeting with their victim, whereupon they assaulted him while making derogatory comments regarding his sexual orientation. This case, which could have been classified as simple assault, was elevated to aggravated assault due to the involvement of a firearm, amplifying the possible sentence to life imprisonment due to its classification as a hate crime.
Facing Assault Charges in Texas: What Awaits You?
Being slapped with assault charges in Texas might be the result of an accident or misunderstanding. It could stem from an inadvertent incident during a celebration or a self-defense situation that was misconstrued. Regardless of the circumstances that led to this point, you now find yourself navigating through the Texas criminal justice system.
Feeling uncertain about what lies ahead is completely normal. The legal labyrinth can be daunting, even for those who have previously encountered it. Remember that an assault conviction can profoundly affect your personal and professional trajectory, making it imperative to champion your rights from this moment on.
Refer to this guide to gain insights into the forthcoming stages of the legal process and ascertain the measures you can undertake to achieve the most favorable result for you and your loved ones.
Embarking on the legal journey following an assault charge in Texas involves numerous court appearances and discussions before you formally face a judge. Having submitted your plea, the stage is set to vigorously contest the accusations against you. So, what comes after?
Probing Begins After a “Not Guilty” Plea
Opting for a “not guilty” plea ushers in a phase where your criminal defense lawyer dedicates time to amassing evidence and data that might aid in safeguarding your position. Operating under the principle of being innocent until proven otherwise, your attorney will scrutinize the case built by the prosecution for potential vulnerabilities.
This investigative stage encompasses gathering statements from eyewitnesses, securing surveillance videos, and delving into the intricacies of Texas law to carve out defenses that underscore your innocence.
Potential Plea Discussions if the Prosecution’s Case is Not Strong
In instances where the case against you appears fragile, be prepared for possible plea negotiation overtures from the prosecution. This entails a proposition where pleading guilty might result in a diminished sentence.
Such propositions culminate in a plea agreement frequently, yet acquiescing to a guilty plea could notably affect your prospects of securing employment or pursuing education. Engage in a candid conversation with your lawyer concerning the prudence of accepting a plea deal, keeping in mind that the ultimate choice resides with you.
Proceeding to Trial When a Plea Agreement is Not Reached
If a plea agreement does not materialize, brace yourself for a trial where both the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to lay out their cases through initial and concluding remarks, along with witness interrogations. It’s important to note that as the defendant, testifying is not a requirement.
Following the closing arguments, the onus shifts to the judge or jury to deliberate on the outcome. A “not guilty” judgment signifies your release, while a “guilty” verdict leads to a subsequent hearing to establish the punishment, with an option for the defendant to appeal the judgment.
Equip Yourself with Knowledge on Texas Assault Charges and Procedures
Feeling overwhelmed is common upon being slapped with an assault charge in Texas. Despite the uphill task ahead, maintaining optimism is crucial. You can take proactive steps to enlighten yourself, thereby positioning yourself for a favorable outcome.
Seek Guidance from a Specialist in Assault Criminal Defense
If a consultation with a criminal defense attorney hasn’t occurred yet, now is the moment to initiate that process. Numerous legal firms, including Hampton Criminal Defense Lawyers, PLLC, provide complimentary consultations to discuss your case nuances.
After evaluating your case, you can anticipate guidance on potential strategies and whether the firm is inclined to represent you.
Understand the Gravity of Your Charges
In Texas, assault charges vary, and understanding the exact nature of your charge and its possible repercussions is vital. Be aware that during the trial, the prosecution might request the addition of supplementary charges based on emerging evidence of exacerbating circumstances or other offenses. The different classes of assault charges in Texas range from Class C misdemeanor to first-degree felony. If in doubt about the specifics of your case, consult a criminal defense attorney for insights.
Openness is key. Share all information, regardless of its nature, with your defense attorney. Concealing information could potentially catch your lawyer off guard during the trial. Remember, even a misdemeanor verdict could result in incarceration for several months. Avoid stalling your life due to an assault accusation. Develop a robust defense plan and stand your ground.
Connect with a Renowned Assault Defense Attorney in Arlington
Act promptly to arrange a no-cost case evaluation with Jeff Hampton, a recognized defense attorney. When grappling with charges ranging from simple assault to severe felony charges such as assault with a dangerous weapon or assaulting a public servant, the expertise of your defense team is pivotal. Convictions can lead to a prison term varying from 180 days to over 20 years, contingent on the judge’s classification. In times of need, reach out to the Arlington assault attorney that has earned the trust of the Tarrant County community for more than ten years. Contact our office at 817-435-2909 for a complimentary consultation, paving the way to formulate your defense strategy.