What is Assault?
The crime of assault lies specifically in the threat of harm; you can be charged
with assault under Texas criminal code if you do any of the following:
1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person,
including your husband, wife or romantic partner.
2. Intentionally or knowingly threaten another person with some type of
bodily harm, including your husband, wife or romantic partner.
3. Intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another when you know
that physical contact will be seen as provocative or offensive.
In other words, while you can certainly be charged with assault should you punch,
kick or choke someone, you can also be charged with assault if another person has
a reasonable fear that you are going to hurt them. Even the simple act of poking
another person in the chest with your finger can be considered assault. If you and
a family member are yelling at one another and a neighbor calls the police, should
you be angry and belligerent toward the police officer you may be arrested with
little to no evidence of assault.
Penalties for Assault
While simple assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor (Class A) if there is nothing
more than a minor injury involved, it can still be punished by a penalty up to $4,000.
If the prosecutor chooses to bump the charges up to a more serious third-degree
felony, you could be facing from twenty-four months to a decade in a Texas prison.
Simple assault can often be turned into a third-degree felony when you committed
the assault against a member of your family, if you knew the person was a governmental
contractor or some type of public servant, or if you were aware the person was an
emergency services employee or security guard. If only pushing or threats were involved,
you could be charged with a misdemeanor (Class C), a more serious Class A misdemeanor
if the assault was against an elderly person and a Class B misdemeanor if the victim
was a person who officiates sports events.
When a Weapon is Involved
The stakes go up significantly should you be charged with causing serious bodily
damage or using a deadly weapon while committing an assault. If you commit aggravated
assault with a weapon you could face second-degree felony charges which carry a
penalty of from two to 20 years in a Texas prison and a fine as much as $10,000.
Aggravated assault can turn into a first-degree felony when a weapon was used in
the assault against a known public official, security guard, informant, witness
to a crime, or in the case of domestic violence where there was a serious bodily
injury. A first degree felony conviction for aggravated assault can lead to a sentence
of five years to life in prison.
The Cost of an Assault Conviction
When you are facing an assault charge you need an aggressive defense from a highly
experienced Houston criminal defense attorney who has extensive background in assault
crimes. The lawyers of Sullo & Sullo have this level of knowledge and can handle
assault allegations of the most violent nature. An assault crime conviction can
not only land you in jail and cost you serious amounts of cash—they can prevent
you from future employment or a career you have worked many years for. It is very
important that you understand your legal rights; our attorneys will ensure they
have explained your position and your options to you and make you a partner in developing
a successful defense strategy.
Defenses to an Assault Offense
You must have an attorney who is ready to mount an aggressive defense on your behalf
if you have been charged with the crime of assault. Some typically-used defenses
can include being intoxicated, acting in self-defense, stating the allege victim
consented, acting in protection of another, or lacking the required intention to
commit battery. A person is generally allowed to use reasonably necessary force
to protect themselves or another from bodily harm, although whether this will be
an accepted defense is usually left up to the jury. It can be difficult for a person
who initiates a fight to claim self-defense unless his or her opponent responded
with an unnecessary degree of force. Coming to the aid of another person can be
a valid defense, and in most states individuals are allowed to use a reasonable
amount of force to protect their property, although deadly force is sometimes permitted,
but only if you are attempting to prevent a felony.
If you were part of a misunderstanding which ended in a drunken shoving match or
was a party to a heated argument in your own home, you may be shocked when you are
arrested and charged with assault. No matter how you view the situation, the law
takes a harsh view of such scenarios and the consequences of an assault charge are
almost always beyond what you would expect. The lawyers of Sullo & Sullo will
conduct a thorough investigation in order to determine what really happened, and
will review police reports and speak to witnesses. While we will review any plea
negotiation that appears to be in your best interests, we will not hesitate to take
your case to trial should it appear to be the best way to protect your future and
your freedom. The attorneys at Sullo & Sullo, LLP are here to help.
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