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While an assault may result in injuries to others, it does not have to. The statute also encompasses threats you never carry out. Regardless of the specific facts, an assault conviction can threaten your future when a prospective employer sees it on your background check. Since the consequences of a conviction can go far beyond the sentence handed down by a court, you may wish to contact an Austin assault lawyer for advice.
An assault conviction can lead to heavy fines and jail time. In some cases, it may be charged as a felony offense, which can threaten your right to vote and possess firearms. Getting legal counsel and representation from a practiced defense lawyer may be essential to protecting your future.
Assault in Austin
Rather than having separate criminal offenses of assault and battery, as some states do, Texas has only a single offense. Assault under Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01 involves situations in which persons make threats of bodily harm to others, but it also involves situations in which someone causes bodily harm to another. To commit an assault, individuals must purposely or recklessly:
- Inflict bodily injury on others
- Threaten to inflict bodily injury on others
- Have physical contact with others that they know or reasonably should know will be seen as aggressive or violent
The definition of assault, therefore, includes incidents resulting in physical injuries, but also those where there are only threats of inflicting physical injuries. Assault is generally a Class A misdemeanor offense.
The potential penalties for an assault conviction can be extremely severe, particularly when serious bodily harm occurs. These consequences can include a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. As a result, meeting with an Austin assault lawyer may be advisable.
Assault automatically becomes a felony offense according to Tex. Pen. Code § 22.02(a)(1)-(2) when the accused person:
- Uses or displays a deadly weapon during the assault
- Commits an assault that results in “serious bodily injury” to another
Tex. Pen. Code § 1.07(46) further defines “serious bodily injury” as an injury that causes death, a significant risk of death, permanent substantial disfigurement, or the extended loss or impaired function of any limb or bodily organ. This offense is generally a second-degree felony and may become a first-degree felony under certain circumstances.
Penalties for a second-degree felony may include a prison term ranging from two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. It also can result in the loss of some civil rights such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, and hold public office.
Aggravating Factors for These Charges
Aside from felony assault as defined above, a general assault offense can result in felony charges of the second or third degree. For example, those with a previous assault conviction against a specified family or household members or who commit certain acts in the context of an assault may be subject to third-degree felony charges if they are accused of committing another domestic assault.
Similarly, an assault against a correctional officer or correctional facility employee who is acting in the scope of a government contract increases the offense level to a third-degree felony. This is also the case if the subjects of the alleged assault are security officers or emergency services personnel who are performing services within the scope of their government contracts. An Austin assault attorney can help those facing felony or misdemeanor assault charges, regardless of the circumstances.
Get Advice from an Austin Assault Attorney
The most effective defense strategy for your case depends upon the facts that led to the alleged assault. An experienced Austin assault lawyer could help you determine which defense strategy will be most advantageous to you, based on your circumstances.
In many cases, the facts surrounding your assault charges can be highly contentious and disputed. Getting strong legal representation in your case may help you get the necessary evidence to support your side of the story and work toward a positive resolution in your case. Call today to learn more.