People from all walks of life can find themselves facing assault charges. Even those who are generally on the other side of the law.
At the request of the town’s police department, the Texas Rangers recently investigated an assistant police chief in Bryan, Texas. He was issued a Class A Misdemeanor Assault warrant, and has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
What’s next for the assistant chief?
We’ve put together a guide covering the laws surrounding simple assault in Texas, and what to do if you find yourself facing charges.
Texas Simple Assault Defined
In Texas, injuring someone (or, in fact, even threatening to injure someone) is considered assault. Texas differs from many other states in this, as many states make a distinction between battery (physical injury or offensive contact) and assault (credible threat of a battery).
For the charge of assault to apply, the prosecution must be able to prove that you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly committed the alleged assault. If you acted out of self-defense, the charge of assault does not apply.
In Texas, simple assault is a Class C misdemeanor. There is no jail time for a Class C misdemeanor, although you will be required to pay a fine of up to $500. Additionally, if convicted, you will be left with a criminal record of violent crime.
The following circumstances elevate the charge of simple assault to aggravated assault:
- Use of an object designed or adapted to serve the purpose of serious bodily injury, even if that object was used to threaten rather than to commit actual bodily harm.
- Inflicting serious bodily injury on the victim that causes a substantial risk of death or permanent disfigurement or disability.
- The assault was committed against a public servant or public official while in the course of that person’s official duties, or in retaliation for that person’s official duties.
- The assault was committed in relation to a sports performance.
- The offense was committed against an elderly person.
- The assault was committed against someone with whom the defendant has an intimate or family relationship.
Depending on the nature of the aggravating factors and the defendant’s prior criminal records, these factors could lead to a higher-level misdemeanor charge, or to felony-level charges.
Defending Yourself against Texas Assault Charges
No matter the type of Texas assault charges you are facing, a conviction will leave you with a criminal record of violent crime, which can hinder nearly every aspect of life, including:
- Child custody
This means that it’s imperative to develop the best possible defense strategy to beat or reduce your charges. The best assault defense strategy depends on the circumstances of the alleged offense in question.
Your attorney will evaluate the specifics of your case and develop a defense based on the evidence for and against you. Common assault defenses include:
- Self-defense, in which you were reacting to a credible threat of harm, had a fear of harm, did not provoke or harm anyone first, and did not have any way to avoid the situation.
- Protection of another person or of property against harm or a credible threat of harm.
- The alleged victim consented to the assault, such as in an arranged fight.
No matter who you are, assault charges are nothing to mess around with. If you find that you’re facing charges, fast and immediate action is imperative to avoid the life-changing consequences of a conviction.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.