When you hear the words “simple assault,” you might picture a scuffle in a bar or a quick fight involving a couple of punches. The phrase doesn’t necessarily sound like a big deal, but simple assault can describe a wide variety of actions. In reality, a simple assault case can be quite complex, with serious consequences for your future.
Simple Assault: What Is It?
Under Texas law, simple assault includes behavior that is both physical and non-physical. This means a person does not actually have to make physical contact with someone to be charged with simple assault. According to the statute, a simple assault is an activity that intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
- Causes bodily injury to someone else
- Threatens another person with bodily injury
- Results in physical contact with someone else in a provocative or offensive way
People have been charged with simple assault for all manner of confrontations. In some cases, getting in someone’s face or shoving them out of the way results in a simple assault charge. You can also be charged with simple assault if you make someone fear for their life or safety. For example, speeding after someone who cut you off in traffic, then rolling down your window to threaten them can be simple assault.
If you have ever observed a fight in a bar, at a sporting event, or anywhere else, you know how easy it is for tensions to escalate quickly. It is not always easy to determine who started what or who said what. Unfortunately, the police tend to arrest first and ask questions later. An argument can quickly go from posturing and pokes in the chest to all-out fighting. In these situations, the individuals involved will most likely be charged with aggravated assault – a much more serious charge.
Defending Against Simple Assault
In today’s world of 24-hour surveillance and smartphone cameras, many fights are captured on video. If you have this kind of evidence, it can be very helpful in showing the intent behind the argument or fight. It also may be possible to show you acted in self-defense. In many cases, it is possible to convince the court to reduce the charges or dismiss them entirely, especially if it is a first offense.