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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Some states have separate offenses and penalties for assault and battery, but Fort Worth groups these offenses into the single criminal charge of assault. Depending on the circumstances that lead to a charge, assault may be pursued as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Regardless of how an assault is charged, a criminal conviction may lead to negative consequences that could impact your life for years to come. You may struggle to find gainful employment, have to join a registry, or be unable to live in certain places.
Fortunately, there is a chance to mitigate these potential penalties. If you are unsure of how to proceed, it may be beneficial to consult a Fort Worth assault lawyer before moving forward with your case. A practiced criminal defense lawyer could provide information regarding the charges you face.
Assault Law in Fort Worth
A common misconception regarding assault is that there must be physical contact to warrant a charge. However, as a Fort Worth assault attorney could explain, threats alone may lead to an assault charge in certain circumstances.
Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01 defines criminal assault as threatening another with imminent physical injury or intentionally causing physical injury. Assault charges may also encompass acts of physical contact that someone would reasonably perceive as offensive or provocative.
Some actions during an alleged assault may raise a charge to aggravated assault. Charges of aggravated assault may be brought if an alleged assault results in serious bodily injury or when a deadly weapon is present. Serious bodily injury includes any physical injury that poses a risk of death, serious and permanent disfigurement, or the loss or impairment of a limb.
Penalties for These Offenses
The circumstances of an assault charge may alter the way charges are pursued by the Texas judicial system. Usually, assault in Fort Worth is pursued as a Class A misdemeanor. However, if an alleged assault involved a public servant, security officer, emergency services personnel, or family and household members, the charge may be elevated to a third- or second-degree felony. Cases of aggravated assault may be charged as a second-degree felony, or in some cases, as a first-degree felony.
If an assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor, those convicted may face a jail sentence of up to one year and fines no higher than $4,000. If an assault is charged as a felony, a conviction may result in a prison sentence ranging between two and 99 years and fines totaling no more than $10,000.
Since the classification of a felony assault is based on circumstances, it may be important to disclose all the details related to an assault charge to an assault attorney in Fort Worth. Depending on the circumstances, they may push to have a charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Contact a Fort Worth Assault Lawyer for Assistance
Even having a misdemeanor assault conviction on your record may result in serious consequences. In addition to fines and prison sentences, a conviction of this type could impact your ability to pursue certain careers, keep your current job, or even move to certain areas.
A Fort Worth assault lawyer may be able to outline potential defenses depending on the circumstances of a charge and develop strong strategies for defending you in court. Any type of criminal charge is frightening. Fortunately, a criminal offense attorney could help protect your freedom. Reach out today to set a meeting with an attorney and begin building your defense.