Texas Assault and Battery Explained
Assault and battery are two of the most frequently misunderstood criminal charges. Because state laws vary widely on what constitutes an assault or a battery, most people have only a vague understanding of what these crimes mean. In Texas, assault and battery fall under the same section of the state’s penal code. Texas law refers to these crimes as “assaultive offenses” that encompass both traditional common law assault and battery. Any intentional, knowing, or reckless harm, threat of harm, or bodily contact with another person is an assaultive offense.
You don’t necessarily have to touch another person to be charged with assault. Under Texas’s comprehensive assault statute, you can be charged with an assaultive defense if you do any of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause physical injury to another person
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten another person with immediate physical injury
- Intentionally or knowingly touch another person in a way you know or should know to be offensive or provocative
Traditional notions of battery include physically touching the victim. In Texas, however, both the threat of touching and actual touching fall under assault.
Penalties Vary Depending on the Severity of the Assault
The penalties for assault range from Class C misdemeanors to second degree felonies. In cases where the accused merely threatened the victim, a conviction will most likely result in a Class C misdemeanor. This same type of behavior can rise to a third degree felony, however, when committed against certain individuals, such as police officers, government officials, public servants, and emergency workers. Making physical contact with another person typically results in a second or third degree felony. Because the consequences for assault vary widely depending on the unique circumstances of the case, it is important to work with a defense attorney who has in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system.
Aggravated Assault Is a More Serious Charge
Under certain circumstances, the assault is so severe it is raised to the level an aggravated assault. This is a separate charge that is distinguished by more serious behavior and harsher penalties. An individual commits aggravated assault in Texas when he causes serious physical injury or attacks another person with a deadly weapon. In most cases, an aggravated assault will be treated as a second degree felony. In especially egregious cases, however, the accused might face a first degree felony charge. Because a second or first degree felony conviction stays with you forever, you need a knowledgeable defense lawyer to present your side of the case. An effective defense strategy can result in reduced charges that carry less devastating consequences.
Defending an Assault Charge
The prosecutor must prove you are guilty of assault beyond a reasonable doubt. This leaves the door open for a variety of defenses. You can show that you acted in self-defense or that the victim’s injuries were not caused by the assault. If the incident involved a street fight or other planned confrontation, you can also argue that the victim consented to the assault. It is important to create a defense strategy that maximizes your chances of having the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Because I am primarily a litigator, I have the necessary courtroom experience to help you dispute your charges in the most effective way possible.
Mark Diaz – Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced lawyer who focuses exclusively on defending criminal cases and who will aggressively protect your rights. Throughout my career, I have successfully handled every type of criminal defense case. More importantly, criminal defense is the only thing I do. I have witnessed firsthand how a criminal charge can negatively impact every area of a person’s life. As a lawyer, I consider it a privilege to help people during this stressful time in their lives. Call me today at (409) 515-6170 for a free consultation to discuss your case.