Assault Charges in Fort Bend County, Texas
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
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
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
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.
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
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