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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Regardless of whether someone allegedly causes physical harm to another or simply makes threats of physical harm, they risk being charged with assault under Texas law. If you are in this situation, an El Paso assault lawyer could offer you the assistance you need.
A highly qualified defense lawyer may be able to help you develop a strategy that is best for your case. Pursuing all defenses that may be available to you could result in a positive outcome for your unique situation.
Definitions of Assault in El Paso
Assault can involve any of the following behaviors:
- Purposely or recklessly causing bodily injury to others
- Intentionally threatening others with imminent physical harm
- Knowingly causing physical contact with another when someone knew or reasonably should have known it would be seen as offensive or provocative
Therefore, even if an assault involves no harmful physical contact and does not result in an injury, a person can face assault charges. The repercussions of a conviction, which the public widely sees as a crime of violence, can be severe. As a result, those facing assault charges may wish to consult with an assault attorney in El Paso for advice.
Misdemeanor Charges and Penalties
Generally, an assault charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor offense if a bodily injury occurs as a result. Conviction on assault as a Class A misdemeanor can result in a maximum one-year jail sentence and a $4,000 fine. If the alleged assault results in no physical injuries, the offense is usually classified as a Class B misdemeanor.
However, the status of the alleged victim of the assault can impact the level of the charge and the resulting penalties. For instance, the offense increases to a Class A misdemeanor if it involves offensive physical contact directed toward an elderly or disabled individual.
When an Offense is Considered a Felony
In some situations, however, an assault charge becomes a felony offense. Penalties for a felony assault offense tend to be more serious than those for a misdemeanor assault offense, they can include significant prison terms, high fines, and a loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to possess a firearm or vote.
Assault becomes a third-degree felony if the targets of the alleged assault are public servants who are in the course of carrying out their official duties. It is also a third-degree felony if it involves certain family or household members and the accused individuals have a previous conviction for domestic assault. A third-degree felony conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and a maximum $10,000 fine. Therefore, it is essential for defendants to seek the services of a skilled El Paso assault lawyer.
What is Considered Aggravated Assault?
Tex. Pen. Code § 22.02(a)(1)-(2) defines the offense of aggravated assault. This occurs when someone uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of committing an assault or commits an assault that results in serious bodily injuries to others. Tex. Pen. Code § 1.07(46) sets forth the definition of serious bodily injury, which includes any type of injury that causes a substantial risk of death or that results in death, serious and permanent disfigurement, or the extended loss or impairment of the function of a limb or organ.
Aggravated assault is generally a second-degree felony under Texas law. However, the offense can become a first-degree felony in some circumstances, such as when the accused uses a deadly weapon and causes serious bodily injury to a family or household member.
Allow an El Paso Assault Attorney to Help
When you are facing assault charges, you are likely to be overwhelmed, stressed, and concerned about your future. An El Paso assault lawyer may be able to remove some of this burden from your shoulders and work toward a positive resolution in your case.
Focus on your future by getting legal representation when you need it most. Do not attempt to go it alone when you are facing criminal charges with the potential for highly damaging results. Call today for the help you need.