Assault crimes in Texas are considered serious, and have the potential to bring severe official penalties and consequences that can have long-term effects. Prison time, costly fines, and the loss of other liberties and benefits can pose a real danger to anyone facing a charge of this type. Assault in Texas involves the performance of an intentional act that causes another person to fear or experience imminent physical harm. However, there are also enhanced degrees of assault charges in Texas which can yield increasingly onerous penalties.
For these reasons, it is vital for those charged with an assault crime in Denton to begin building an aggressive defense strategy as soon as possible. If you have been accused of assault, a Denton assault lawyer is ready to explore the facts of your case and determine the most effective way to proceed.
Texas Assault Law
It is important to note that regarding assault charges in Texas, a simple threat of imminent harm is sufficient, even if actual physical injuries do not result. As an example, wielding a knife in the direction of another person or thrusting a fist at someone’s face is enough for a charge to be issued, provided the alleged target is aware of those actions and is placed in apprehension of danger. The complexities of such a charge require the attention of a Denton assault lawyer as soon as possible.
There are three primary ways in which an assault can be committed, namely:
- The accused knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer bodily injury
- The accused knowingly or intentionally threatens to cause another person bodily injury
- The accused knowingly or intentionally causes some form of physical contact with another while they believe or reasonably should believe the other would find the contact to be offensive
A conviction of simple assault, or one that causes minor injury, is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, and is punishable by upwards of one year in a county jail and a monetary fine that can reach upwards of $4,000, as provided by Texas Penal Code Title 3, Chapter 12. In cases where the assault offense was characterized only by a threat of action without subsequent physical harm, the crime is classified as a Class C misdemeanor, bearing a potential fine of up to $500.
There may be instances in which an otherwise simple assault charge is elevated to a felony charge which carries a possible 10-year term of incarceration and a fine reaching upwards of $10,000. Circumstances in which this can occur include those in which the allegations are against someone with a previous conviction for domestic violence and the claimed assault was against a family member or dating partner. This also includes when the assault was alleged to have been against a public servant or government contractor, or the assault was alleged to have taken place against an on-the-job security guard or emergency responder. Due to the severity of such penalties, it is pertinent that an individual contact a Denton assault defense attorney immediately after receiving their charge.
Aggravated assault is the most serious of this category of crimes, carrying a prospective punishment of up to two decades in prison, and it can be charged under several scenarios, including:
- Use of a deadly weapon during the assault itself
- Producing serious bodily injury to the victim, including a spouse
- In retaliation against one who is serving as an informant, prospective witness, or someone who has reported a crime
- Discharging a weapon while in a motor vehicle at the direction of a building, a dwelling or another vehicle
Working with a Denton Assault Attorney
Because conviction of an assault charge can yield jail time, costly fines, as well as the potential loss of firearms rights and certain types of government benefits, there is no time to waste in formulating a strong defense posture. There are many situations in which self-defense or defense of property arguments can be successfully utilized in having charges dropped, reduced, or at the very least, have the potential ramifications of conviction significantly mitigated.
The uncertainty and confusion that follows assault charges cannot be overstated, but these feelings must never be allowed to stand in the way of the legal defense to which all accused parties are entitled. Delay is not a defendant’s friend, and the sooner an experienced Denton, TX assault attorney is contacted, the greater the chances of a positive outcome.