How does Texas law treat assault charges?
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How does Texas law treat assault charges?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense

In many states assault and battery are treated differently as being separate crimes under state law. Assault is traditionally making threats that include bodily harm. Battery, on the other hand, is making contact with another person’s body in an attempt to cause damage. 

However, in Texas, assault and battery are treated the same as both being forms of assault. There are different classes and degrees of assault in Texas. Let’s take a closer look.

Classifications of assault in Texas

Assault in Texas can be defined as threatening to cause harm, intentionally causing physical harm or making contact with another person provocatively and offensively. Here’s how they are classified (and charged) according to the law:

  • Class C misdemeanor: An assault is classified as Class C if the threat was through words or gestures without making physical contact.
  • Class B misdemeanor: If the assault is related to a sporting event and someone performing in that event, or out of retaliation for a sports-related event.
  • Class A misdemeanor: If harm is caused to another person physically or if physical contact was made against an elderly person, then it could be a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Third-degree felony: Third-degree felony charges could result from a variety of scenarios:
    • If the assault is against a public servant, such as a police officer.
    • If the assault was domestic violence and the defendant has been previously convicted of a similar offense.
    • If the assault involved choking or strangulation.
    • A person working for a government agency commits assault.
    • A person who is a security officer commits assault
    • A person who works as an emergency service personnel commits assault
  • Second-degree felony:  Domestic violence, previous convictions, choking can lead to a second-degree felony charge.
  • First-degree felony: Domestic violence, assaulting a public official, witness or informant can result in a first-degree felony charge.
  • Aggravated assault: An assault is considered aggravated when serious injury results or a weapon is used during the assault. 

Assaults are often charged to the fullest intent of the law to pressure defendants to plea bargain. The goal of the prosecution is to get a conviction by offering a lower charge (which may seem better than the alternative at the time) in exchange for an admission of guilt.

If facing assault charges in Texas, it can be helpful to have professional guidance that is experienced in the defense of assault charges. Going through the court system without legal assistance is never wise and could put your future in danger.