Assault is a criminal charge involving violence, so the prosecution is going to take it very seriously, especially if a weapon was used, or it resulted in injury. In Texas, assault carries eithermisdemeanor or felony level penalties and punishments in Texas, depending on the circumstances.
What is Assault?
Under the criminal laws of Texas, assault can be charged if you:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to someone else, including your spouse.
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten someone else, including your spouse, with imminent bodily injury.
- Intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Misdemeanor Assault and Felony Assault
Normally, simple assault that results in minor injury is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000. However, prosecutors can bump it up to a third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in a Texas prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000 – in some cases.
If you are charged with simple assault, it can become a third-degree felony if the state proves that you:
- Committed the assault against a family member or someone with whom you are in a romantic relationship, and you have a previous domestic violence conviction.
- Knew the person was a public servant or government contractor carrying out official duties, or you committed the assault on a public servant in retaliation for doing his job.
- Knew the person was a security guard or emergency services worker, and you committed the assault while the person was doing his job.
When the assault involves only touching or threatening, it’s a Class C misdemeanor, for which the penalty is a fine of up to $500. But the criminal charge can become more serious under some circumstances with aggravating factors. For example, the assault becomes a Class A misdemeanor if the victim is elderly, and becomes a Class B misdemeanor if the victim is a sports official.
Assault with a Weapon / Aggravated Assault
The stakes also go up if you are charged with causing serious injury or using a weapon while committing assault. Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony, and the penalty is 2 to 20 years in a Texas prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated assault can become a first-degree felony, with a penalty of 5 years to life, in cases of domestic violence, or if the assault was committed against a public official, security guard, informant, or witness to a crime.