Understanding Assault in Texas

Most people understand “assault” to be a violent crime that involves someone physically hitting someone else. While that is certainly the case in Texas, a perpetrator can be charged with assault without actually striking someone. Assault that involves mere threats of violence is the least severe charge for this crime, and various factors can make the potential penalties worse. 

Misdemeanor Assault

Assault is designated as a Class C misdemeanor in Texas if the assailant is found to have threatened somebody with bodily harm or caused physical contact with someone whom the assailant knew would have regarded the physical contact as “offensive or provocative.” That might sound complicated, but you should understand that both of those offenses are less severe than actually striking someone and causing bodily injury, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. 

  • The penalty for a Class C misdemeanor conviction is a fine of up to $500. 
  • The penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include a fine of up to $4,000 and a year in jail. 

Felony Assault

Causing bodily injury could be charged as a third-degree felony (up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine) if the victim is a public servant who was in the middle of executing official duties. This also applies if the victim is a family or household member, security official, EMS personnel, or someone who contracts with the government and was in the middle of executing official duties. 

Assault is classified as a second-degree felony if it is committed against a family or household member (or someone with whom the perpetrator is in a dating relationship); if the perpetrator has prior assault convictions; and if the perpetrator “impeded the normal breathing or circulation” of the victim. In other words, the perpetrator choked the victim. 

  • Texans convicted of a third-degree felony could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and subject to a $10,000 fine. 
  • Those convicted of a second-degree felony are subject to a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. 

First-degree felonies are punishable by a possible lifetime prison sentence plus fees. Assault is considered to be a felony in the first degree if aggravated assault is committed against certain individuals, like those in a domestic relationship with the perpetrator. 

Charged With Assault? You Need an Attorney

The sooner you hire an attorney to represent you in your criminal case, the better. Your lawyer can use various tactics to better position you during your trial and help to get you a lesser sentence if you are convicted. Attorney Charles A. Banker, III has a long track record of helping Texans charged with a wide variety of crimes. Attorney Banker is especially adept at trying cases with a self-defense element. Our firm would be honored to help you or your family; reach out to us here to discuss your options.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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