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Houston Assault & Battery Lawyer

Texas Violent Crimes Attorney

Assault in Texas is one of the most frequently misunderstood criminal charges. Unlike many states, Texas incorporates both assault and battery charges in a singular assault charge, meaning there is no separate charge for battery. You can be charged with assault for threatening a person even if you never physically touched them.

Ignorance of the law is not a defense, but that does not mean that you are necessarily guilty of assault either. Contact Samuel M. Gardner Attorney at Law to speak with a knowledgeable assault and battery lawyer in Houston. Mr. Gardner can help you understand the law and what can be done to defend your innocence.

Defining Assault in Texas

In many states, assault is defined as an act that threatens physical harm, while battery is the actual physical touching that results in harm. In Texas, both of these offenses are combined in one charge of assault. In Texas, you don’t even have to be engaged in a physical fight to be charged with assault, creating consequences during sexual advances or even excitedly grabbing someone’s wrist.

You can be charged with assault if you:

  • Caused bodily injury to a person or they spouse intentionally or through reckless behavior
  • Knowingly threatened a person or their spouse with physical harm
  • Physically touched a person knowing it would cause them significant discomfort

Contact his office today at (713) 489-2358 to schedule a FREE consultation.

Classifications of Misdemeanor Assault

If someone was engaged in a minor conflict (that is, no injuries occurred that the courts would deem “serious”), the charge would depend on the situation. You can only be arrested at the crime scene for misdemeanor assault if a police officer is present and witnesses the crime. Special exceptions are made in the event of domestic violence, if an officer is not in attendance, the defendant will be summoned to court or subject to an arrest warrant.

There are three classifications of misdemeanor assault in Texas:

  • Class C – The Texas Penal Code defines a Class C misdemeanor as “intentionally or knowingly causing physical conduct with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.” This means that brushing up against someone during an altercation, laying a hand on their arm, or sexual advances could all lead to a Class C minor assault charge. Class C’s are also given to defendants if the victim seriously believed they were in physical harm based on the threats made by the defendant.
  • Class B – If the threats were made against a sports official, the charge is elevated to Class B. Likewise, if an assault was made in retaliation for a sports-related incident, the crime is usually considered a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Class A. Class A misdemeanors are usually physical altercations that result in minor injuries. Bodily injury is a very broad term and includes any physical pain the plaintiff experiences. There doesn’t have to be any physical evidence of the altercation. The plaintiff doesn’t have to bear bruises, scrapes, or swelling to get a conviction, as long as there is some proof linking the assault to pain. Physical threats against seniors are also considered Class A offenses. Class A misdemeanors have maximum penalties of one year in prison and fines up to $4,000.

Understanding Felony & Aggravated Assault

Felony assault is also known as aggravated assault in the State of Texas. This requires the defendant to have willfully, intentionally, or recklessly caused bodily injury, made severe threats of bodily harm, or forced unwanted physical contact on a victim. Police officers usually have to witness a crime firsthand to place a suspect under arrest, but this is NOT the case with aggravated assault. Any victim reporting a situation that meets the criteria for aggravated assault can result in arrest when officers respond to a call.

An individual can be charged with a first-degree felony in cases where the crime was committed against a government official, public official, a security guard, a family member, or a witness. In addition, assault against children, the elderly, or the disabled where the assaulted suffers serious bodily harm will more often be charged as first-degree felonies depending on the circumstances. Actually causing serious bodily harm or using a deadly weapon is a second-degree felony and is charged as aggravated assault as well.

A deadly weapon is defined as any object that can deal potentially lethal damage, such as:

  • Running Someone Over with a Car
  • Using a Firearm
  • Blunt or Heavy Object
  • Rope Used to Suffocate or Hang a Victim
  • Etc.

Third-, second-, and first-degree felonies for committing felony assault may result in prison time of 2–10 years, 2–20 years, or 5–99 years, respectively. Felony assault charges may also include a fine up to $10,000, probation, a restraining order, or restitution payments. Restitution includes court fees, mental health treatment, hospital bills, or recouping the cost of damaged property.

Lastly, being convicted of any felony assault charge means having your firearm privileges revoked. This penalty begins at the conclusion of any prison sentence and lasts up to five years. After the conclusion of the punishment, the defendant is allowed to own a gun in their home but cannot apply for a new gun license.

Affirmative Defenses & Deferred Adjudication in Assault Cases

In affirmative defense cases, the defendant is admitting fault, but maintains there was a legal reason for committing the assault. If the defendant had good reason to believe the victim was going to cause harm or the victim was stealing the defendant’s property, the defendant may opt for an affirmative defense.

Sometimes a judge may even grant the defendant deferred adjudication on the grounds they plead guilty to aggravated assault charges. Deferred adjudication means the judge will impose certain requirements that need to be met, such as rehabilitation classes or probation periods, and after the requirements are met will impart a sentence. Deferred adjudication usually decreases the crime’s penalty. Failure to meet the requirements of the adjudication results in immediate sentencing by the judge.

Deferred adjudication is most often granted to first-time offenders, misdemeanor cases, and aggravated assault. Aggravated assault by repeat offenders or against family members is rarely granted deferred adjudication.

Sometimes a judge may grant the defendant deferred adjudication on the grounds they plead guilty to aggravated assault charges. Deferred adjudication means the judge will impose certain requirements that need to be met, such as rehabilitation classes or probation periods, and after the requirements are met will impart a sentence. Deferred adjudication usually decreases the crime’s penalty. Failure to meet the requirements of the adjudication results in immediate sentencing by the judge.

We Want to Hear Your Side of the Story

In assault cases, there are usually two parties telling two different versions of the same story. Most people tend to sympathize with the alleged victims, which can make the situation all the more frustrating for the accused. However, the defendant may be able to argue that he or she did not commit the assault. This is extremely difficult to prove, especially in cases that involve witnesses. Without witnesses, it’s often the responsibility of the prosecution to prove the assault did take place. Sufficient evidence is needed to make a conviction.

You deserve to have your chance of the story told. Schedule an appointment with Samuel Gardner, who will carefully listen to your side of things and can help you explore your options for defense.

Call (713) 489-2358 today to set up a meeting with our experienced Houston assault & battery lawyer, Samuel Gardner, today.

MY PRIMARY GOAL IS TO GET YOUR CASE DISMISSED

Take a look at our results.
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Bodily Injury
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Bodily Injury / Injury to Public Servant
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Jury Trial / Mistrial / Dismissed Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Evading Arrest
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Felony Evading Arrest
  • Dismissed Accused of Forgery Government Financial Instrument
  • Dismissed Accused of Injury to Elderly
  • Dismissed Accused of Possession of a Controlled Substance 28-200g

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