Inflicting or causing someone to fear bodily injury is cause for an aggravated assault charge in the state of Texas. Depending on the nature and scope of the charge, aggravated assault is punishable by incarceration and financial penalties. An experienced criminal defense attorney is prepared to aggressively protect the legal rights of an aggravated assault defendant.
Aggravated assault is clearly defined by the Texas Penal Code. An aggravated assault charge must consist of one or more of the following elements:
- Knowingly, recklessly or intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury
- Using or exhibiting a deadly weapon while committing an assault crime
- Threatening another person with bodily injury
- Engaging in conduct that a victim regards as offensive
The Texas Penal Code also defines deadly conduct:
- Engaging in reckless conduct that puts another person at risk of suffering serious bodily injury
- Knowingly discharging a firearm in the direction of another person
- Discharging a firearm in the direction of a building, vehicle or house without regard for whether the building, vehicle or house was occupied
A law enforcement officer must actually witness an assault incident to make an immediate arrest. Otherwise, the most a police officer can do is issue a complaint citation or seek an arrest warrant from a judge. This general requirement does not apply in domestic violence cases. The police can arrest and remove a suspect in the event of a domestic assault or violence accusation.
Simple assault is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. A simple assault conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $4,000. When an assault incident is limited to threatening or touching, the suspect will usually be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. Although a Class C misdemeanor is only punishable by a $500 fine, merely threatening an elderly person will escalate the charge to a Class A misdemeanor. Threatening a sports official is a Class B misdemeanor.
Simple assault rises to the level of a third degree felony if the victim was a government official or public servant. This enhancement also applies to assault offenses involving family and domestic relationships by individuals with a previous domestic violence or domestic assault conviction. A third degree assault conviction is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.
Aggravated assault is usually a second degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000. Aggravated assault can be charged as a first degree felony if the incident involved a domestic relationship, public official, police officer, emergency worker, security guard or informant. A first degree felony conviction is punishable by up to life in prison.
If you have been accused of aggravated assault in Texas, then you could be facing some hefty fines and penalties. Get a hold of Matthew Sharp at 713-868-6100.