All too often, assault charges arise from simple lapses in judgment or arguments that get out of control. Because assault is a crime of violence, however, these minor incidents can be significantly damaging to your employment prospects, your reputation, and your life in general.
Fortunately, a Tarrant County assault lawyer may be able to assist you in fighting back against assault charges and working toward positive results in your case. With the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to raise appropriate defenses and overcome the charges against you.
Simple and Aggravated Assault
Under Texas Penal Code § 22.01, simple assault is the threat or use of force to injure or make offensive contact with others. Because of the inherent element of force or threat of force in assaults, local authorities take these offenses seriously, and consulting an assault lawyer in Tarrant County may be highly beneficial.
According to Tex. Pen. Code §22.02, assault becomes aggravated assault in the following situations:
- The assault causes serious bodily injury, which includes permanent disfigurement or a bodily impairment
- Individuals use a deadly weapon to cause bodily injury or exhibit one as a threat to cause physical harm
Certain additional factors can elevate the level of the aggravated assault. For example, if the assault involves a deadly weapon and a qualifying family or household member, the level of the offense increases. This also can occur if the target of an assault is a public servant acting in the course of their official duties, such as a police officer or firefighter.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault
Simple assault is typically a Class A misdemeanor if it results in physical injury to others or involves either bodily harm or threats of harm directed at elderly or disabled individuals. However, it is a Class B misdemeanor if the assault does not result in physical injuries.
A Class A misdemeanor conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to one year, as well as a maximum $4,000 fine. A Class B misdemeanor, on the other hand, is punishable by a jail term up to 180 days and a fine up to $2,000. Since a conviction on either of these offenses can result in a jail sentence, getting the advice of an assault attorney in Tarrant County is highly advisable before admitting guilt to an alleged assault offense.
Felony Assault Charges
Simple assault may result in third-degree felony charges if the alleged targets are public servants who are acting in the course of their duties. Felony charges also may occur when the targets of the assault are family or household members, and/or if the accused party has a prior domestic violence-related assault conviction. Third-degree felony assault can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years in length.
Aggravated assault charges can be first-degree or second-degree felony charges, and a conviction can result in even harsher prison sentences depending on the circumstances. A felony sentence of any level can also include a fine of up to $10,000, as well as collateral consequences including the loss of the right to carry a firearm and the forfeiture of other civil rights.
Contact a Tarrant County Assault Attorney Today
In addition to a potential jail sentence and high fines, a felony assault conviction can lead to the loss of civil rights, implementation of a protective order in domestic assault cases, and ineligibility for certain professional licenses and careers. Since the stakes are so high in assault cases, working with a Tarrant County assault lawyer may be critical to your future prospects.
Enlisting the assistance of experienced legal counsel may enable you to avoid some of these consequences and protect your future. Take the first step by getting the legal advice you need today.