In the state of Texas, assault is a criminal offense that can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on which portion of the statute the defendant is accused of violating. Our Sugar Land criminal defense attorney has encountered many clients who believe that they can only be convicted of assault if they engage in a physical altercation with another person. While hitting, kicking, punching, choking, or otherwise inflicting physical harm on another person can be considered assault, it might surprise some clients to know that they can be charged with assault even when no physical contact has occurred.
Under Texas Law, Assault Occurs When a Person:
- Intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly inflicts bodily harm on another person;
- Intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causes physical contact with another person who they have reason to believe would find such contact to be offensive; or
- Intentionally or recklessly threatens another person with bodily harm.
Under the statute it is clear to see that while unwanted physical contact can be classified as assault, threats of violence can constitute assault as well. Under Texas law, if a person threatens an act of violence and the other party is placed in reasonable fear of harm, then the person making the threat can be charged with assault even though no physical contact has occurred.
Types of Assault
Simple Assault. In the state of Texas, simple assault is classified as a misdemeanor. Simple assault occurs when a person violates the Texas criminal code by either physically causing harm or threatening harm to another party. A person who is convicted of simple assault can be forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines or may serve up to one year in county jail.
Felony Assault. An assault in Texas is considered a felony when a person commits an act of violence against a person with whom they are involved in a romantic relationship or against a family member. Courts take domestic violence cases very seriously and the consequences of conviction can involve lengthy jail sentences and probation. Assault is also considered a felony if it is committed against a government official or an emergency services worker. Acts of violence committed against children can also be classified as a felony.
Assault with a Weapon. Assault involving a dangerous weapon is almost always classified as a felony. Threatening acts of violence with a weapon or causing bodily harm through the use of a weapon is a second-degree felony in the state of Texas. Persons convicted of assault with a weapon can face a term of imprisonment ranging from 5 years to life.
Sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs when a person forces sexual contact on another party. Sexual assault can also occur when a party sends vulgar, sexually explicit messages through the use of email or text to another person who they know would find such messages to be offensive.
Importance of Having an Attorney
If you have been charged with assault, it is absolutely vital that you contact a Sugar Land criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your Sugar Land criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case and help you build a defense. The prosecuting attorney will do everything possible to ensure that you are convicted of the crime for which you have been charged. If you are facing a criminal charge, you need an advocate on your side that will fight to ensure that your case is tried fairly under the law. Regardless as to whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor, our Sugar Land criminal defense attorney will provide you with the type of representation that you deserve.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the state of Texas, contact Sugar Land criminal defense attorney John Venza. John L. Venza Jr. is committed to providing competent, zealous representation to each of his clients and has the knowledge and experience needed to assist you with your criminal matter. Call our office at (281) 971-5660 to schedule an initial consultation with our Sugar Land criminal defense attorney today.