Houston Assault Lawyer

Assault Offenses in Texas

There are several assault offenses in Texas. Click the links below to jump-to the information you need.

  • Aggravated assault
  • Misdemeanor assault
  • Assault family violence
  • Assault of a public servant (often a police officer)

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is usually a felony of the second degree; the punishment range is from probation to twenty years (20) in prison.

Aggravated assault can include shooting or stabbing a person; or threatening a person with a deadly weapon like a knife or a gun.

Aggravated assault can also include causing serious bodily injury to someone. Serious bodily injury means injury that creates a risk of death; serious or permanent disfigurement; or protracted loss or impairment.

Whether or not the injury is “serious” is debatable and must be proven by the state.

Defenses to Aggravated Assault Charges

There are several defenses to aggravated assault charges. Some defenses to aggravated assault include:

  • Self-Defense—for example, someone pulls a knife on you and you pull a gun to prevent an attack.  Or, someone threatens your life and you defend yourself with a firearm.
  • Necessity
  • Defense of a third person—you threatened a person with a gun to prevent them from attacking a friend or family member.

There may be other issues with the state’s case.  For example, there may not be eyewitnesses, or the identifications made by the eyewitnesses may be challenged.

The state may not have recovered the weapon.  The complainant may lack credibility or have had a reason to fabricate the charges.

Aggravated assault cases are taken seriously by prosecutors because of the violence caused or threatened.

Misdemeanor Assault

Typically, misdemeanor assault is defined as causing bodily injury to another person. Texas law defines “bodily injury” as physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

This definition of bodily injury is broad—the complaining witness does not need a visible injury for the state to charge a person with assault.

This type of misdemeanor assault is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail and a $4000 fine.

Defenses to Misdemeanor Assault

There are several defenses to assault charges in Texas.  Some defenses include:

  • Self-Defense—if you were defending yourself from an attack, you can argue self-defense. In Texas, under a principle known as apparent danger, it may not matter if you made the first strike.
  • Mutual Combat or Consent—Two people voluntarily get into a fight. The loser cannot claim assault just because he lost the fight. In my experience, many assault cases are filed by people who pick a fight and lose.
  • Defense of a third person—under certain rules, you can assault someone to protect a third person.

Assault cases are often very defensible.  There may be self-defense, consent, and eyewitness issues.Furthermore, the complainant may be lacking in credibility.

Never plead guilty to assault without a thorough investigation of the state’s case.

Assault Family Violence

Assault family violence is typically a Class A misdemeanor, which means the punishment range can include probation up to one (1) year in jail.

Many employers will disqualify applicants with domestic violence records.

Assault family violence is typically charged as causing bodily injury to a family member. Family violence also includes dating relationships.

Prosecutors treat assault family violence cases seriously. So does the law—a second assault family violence charge is bumped up to a felony charge. In Texas, an assault family violence deferred adjudication can never be removed from a criminal history.

Defending an Assault Family Violence Charge

Defending an assault family violence charge requires a thorough evaluation of the facts of the case. For example, is there a 911 call from the complaining witness? Can it be kept out of evidence?

Are there are any injuries? Is self-defense or “mutual combat” an issue? Does the complaining witness want to cooperate with the prosecution? Does the complaining witness have a reason to make up the charge? Are there any other witnesses to the alleged assault?

If you need an attorney for your assault case, please contact me or call (713) 487-7575.

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