Can Harmful Words be Considered Assault?

Man yelling at woman hands up

In America, people have a right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. You cannot be jailed for assault because you insulted someone, but some people may be able to use verbal threats and hateful remarks to accuse someone of a hate crime or making criminal threats.

If you are facing charges of assault, a hate crime, or criminal threats in Texas, the law office of John Venza may be able to help.

The Legality of Free Speech

Although you are entitled to express your dislike for someone, you are not allowed to make threats against someone or their family. Criminal threats are not protected under the First Amendment. Using words to incite fear or to terrorize another human being could also be considered harassment.

What Are Criminal Threats?

Threats against someone's physical well-being are subject to legal trial and, if convicted, jail time. The speech in these cases does not have to be verbal; someone who sends threatening text messages, emails, or letters by mail can also be charged with making criminal threats.

Threats do not have to be physical in nature, either. If a threat is designed to cause fear, a defendant can still be charged. Sometimes, people make threats during heated arguments, and they are left trying to explain why they would never do anything they actually said they would in a courtroom.

We cannot take back what we say, especially if there are digital records. Rather than denying allegations that are known to be true, a more effective measure is to hire a Texas criminal defense attorney to represent you in court.

Is Hate Speech Illegal?

"Hate speech" is any hostile remark made against a person based on their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Although insulting someone because of the aforementioned criteria is not illegal, a prosecutor could use hate speech against a defendant in a court of law.

Hate speech often plays a large part in hate crime cases; for example, if you are being faced with physical assault charges, then previous hate speech comments could be brought up in court and used by the prosecutors.

Connect With a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

We can discuss the details surrounding your case, and you can find out how you can avoid having your words used against you unjustly.

Contact the Law Office of John Venza today (281) 817-8737 to schedule your consultation to learn more.

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