Assault Charges

Assault Charges in Fort Bend County, Texas

self defense

Fort Bend Criminal Defense Attorney

Regarding the black letter law, assaultive offenses are defined under Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code as offenses committed against the person. Per § 22.01, assault occurs when an individual intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious injury to another person, threatens another person with injury, or causes contact that they know or should reasonably know would be considered offensive.

While many states differentiate the intention to cause injury with the actual causing of the injury as assault and battery, the state of Texas categorizes them as the same under assaultive offenses law. Call John L. Venza Jr. today at (281) 971-5660 to schedule your initial consultation or fill out our free case evaluation here.

What does it mean to cause "bodily injury?"

That does not mean that they are punished equally. To cause bodily injury to another is considered a Class A misdemeanor. And the term "bodily injury" in Texas is really a misnomer, as all that is required for bodily injury to be proven is this--that the complainant was made to feel any amount of pain or discomfort.

Illustratively, and insanely, if you pinch somebody and thereby cause that person pain, and if you are not acting in self-defense or defense of a third party when you do it, you could be arrested, charged, and convicted of the Class A misdemeanor of assault causes bodily injury. For the sake of the illustration, you could be subjected to a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in the county jail for something as insignificant as this. As you can see, the howling of angry complainants has influenced our state legislature to enact assault law in Texas that would be laughable if it weren't so serious for the poor people charged under this ill-conceived and unfair law.

Why are these types of cases dealt with so harshly?

When you have been accused of assault, you are facing a type of charge that the District Attorney's office and the public takes very seriously, although not always for the best reasons. In any assault case, there is or was a person claiming to have been injured by the Defendant. Our system of justice expects that when someone has been hurt, punishment will be dealt out.

These cases often involve an angry accuser who makes a point out of telling the DA to throw the book at the Defendant. Unlike in "victim-less" offenses, such as a non-accident DWI, the DA's office often has an irate complainant to deal with. The political need to cater to and placate the complainant sometimes leads to cases being prosecuted that never should have resulted in an arrest to begin with.

When does it become a felony offense?

Additionally, there are circumstances in which what would be a Class A assault (assault causes bodily injury) is elevated to a third degree felony. Assaults indicted as third degree felonies include instances in which the alleged victim:

  • is a public servant;
  • has supposedly been assaulted by a person who has a previous affirmative finding of family violence; or
  • is a security officer or an emergency services personnel. Assault

The difference between a Class A assault, in which bodily injury has been caused, and a Class C assault, in which the complainant has been touched in a manner claimed to be offensive or provocative, is often small and up for debate.

Penalties for Misdemeanors & Felonies

Punishments are outlined in Chapter 12 of the Penal Code. While there are many gray areas, and each case is ruled by its own set of specific circumstances, this is the basic outline for what can be expected.

Third Degree Felony

  • Fine up to $10,000; and/or
  • Confinement in jail between 2 and 10 years

Class A Misdemeanor

  • Fine up to $4,000; and/or
  • Confinement in jail up to one year

Class B Misdemeanor

  • Fine up to $2,000; and/or
  • Confinement in jail up to 180 days

Class C Misdemeanor

  • Fine up to $500

Possible Defenses Against Charges of Assault

Just because you have been charged with assault does not mean that you will be convicted. There is a long way between the arrest and the courthouse, and by working with an experienced Fort Bend criminal lawyer, you can take the necessary steps toward protecting your legal rights. For example, one defense that can be advanced on your behalf is self-defense. To properly demonstrate self-defense, you need to show that you were threatened and had a real fear that you would be harmed.

An example would be drinking at a bar when a stranger comes up to you shouting and swinging fists—if you hit back out of fear, you may be able to successfully argue that you only hit the other individual out of self-defense. Other arguments that could be made would be defense of others or of property. Still, even if these are proven, there are limitations on how much force can be used: the force used must be proportionate to the threat.

I am experienced in this area of defense:

Not only have I successfully employed self-defense theories where applicable for my clients' benefit, but I am a recognized authority statewide on the topic. My writing on the issue of self-defense led to a scholarly article published statewide for other lawyers to learn from.

Hire the Law Office of John L. Venza, Jr.

As a senior prosecutor of a felony District Court in Texas, I was heavily involved in the prosecution of violent crimes. This hands-on experience gave me a unique perspective as a criminal attorney into how these types of cases are investigated and prosecuted, something that can put me a step ahead in most cases.

  • I understand just how important the defense is when charged with assault
  • I am committed to ensuring that my clients receive the aggressive defense that they deserve
  • I provide aggressive negotiation
  • I exhaustively investigate the State's case, including the arrest procedures, witness statements, and other evidence against my client, seeking to build the strongest possible case for defense

I work with prosecutors, some being my former peers, to negotiate the best deal. If there is no agreement on a plea bargain for the violent crime charge, then you can count on me to be your advocate in litigating your case in the courtroom. Your rights, liberties, and reputation are at stake. Let me help you defend them. For more information or to schedule a free consultation at my office conveniently located off of Highway 59, please contact me at (281) 971-5660.

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