What Are the Different Levels Of Assault Charges In Texas?
Assault is a severe crime in Texas. You could receive jail time and a fine if you are convicted. This article explains the various levels of assault in Texas. If you have questions about an assault charge, an assault lawyer in Galveston at Mark Diaz & Associates can help.
What Is Assault in Texas?
What determines the type of assault you are charged with depends on who you assaulted, the context, and whether you used a weapon. Below are forms of misdemeanor assault in Texas. Felony, or aggravated assault, is covered later in this article:
- You intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused someone physical harm or injury
- You deliberately threatened someone with imminent physical harm
- You used physical contact with someone in a purposefully offensive or provocative manner
Now, it may seem relatively minor to be charged with any of these forms of assault as identified above. However, Galveston prosecutors are well known for zealously prosecuting assault offenses, even when the alleged victim of the crime has no interest in seeing the case through and instead, wants the case to be dismissed.
The severity of the penalties for an assault conviction depends on the case. That is why it is essential to retain a criminal assault lawyer in Galveston as soon as possible. The only way to argue against an overly harsh charge is with your attorney at your side. Once you have an experienced attorney, prosecutors will very likely treat you and your case much differently.
Class C Misdemeanor Assault
If the alleged assault did not cause physical injury or harm, it is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for this misdemeanor is a $500 fine. While this sounds minor, you still want to fight this charge aggressively with a criminal defense attorney because the consequences of having an assault conviction, regardless of the degree, are huge.
Class A Misdemeanor Assault
If the assault causes physical harm, it is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most common form of assault seen in the criminal justice system. The maximum penalty for a conviction is up to one year in jail and a possible fine not to exceed $4,000.
If you cut off the normal breathing patterns of a member of your family as defined by law (i.e. if you strangle your girlfriend/boyfriend) to the point they cannot breathe, then you could be facing a Third-Degree Felony assault charge. Additionally, if you assault a member of your family, including your spouse or significant other, and if you have had an assault family violence conviction in the past, you could face a third-degree felony assault charge. The penalty range for a third-degree assault conviction is no less than 2 years in prison and up to 10 years in prison; also, a possible fine not to exceed $10,000.
Assaulting the below-referenced classes of persons will also land you with a felony assault charge:
- Public servants
- Government employees
- Security officers who were in the line of duty
- Emergency service personnel
Second-Degree Felony Assault
Any aggravated assault charge in Texas is a second-degree felony. Thus, if you issue a threat to someone when armed with a deadly weapon, you could be facing a second-degree felony charge. If convicted, you face two to 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
First-Degree Felony Assault
This is the most severe felony assault charge. It also is the second-highest potential charge other than a capital offense. Aggravated assault in Texas is a first-degree felony when it is done against a family member, dating partner, or resident of the household and serious bodily injury is caused. If a serious bodily injury is inflicted against any of the named classes of persons below, then the charge could turn into a first-degree felony:
- Committed against a uniformed or on-duty public servant
- Committed against a public servant in the line of duty
- Committed against a public servant to retaliate against them
- Committed against a possible or actual crime witness
- Committed against the reporter of a crime or an informant
- Committed against a security officer in the line of duty
If you are convicted of a first-degree felony for assault, you face up to life in prison but no less than 5 years in prison; also a possible fine not to exceed $10,000. This incredibly harsh punishment range should convince you why it is so important to retain a criminal defense attorney to fight for you as soon as possible.
Sexual Assault Charges In Texas
Sexual assault is what the judicial system in Texas uses to refer to what most of the rest of the world knows as rape. The crime that is called rape in other states is called sexual assault in Texas. Therefore, if you are arrested for sexual assault in Texas, you still might hear law enforcement call the charge ‘rape.’ However, sexual assault is the correct legal term.
Sexual assault is a second-degree felony. If you are convicted of this assault charge, you face between two and 20 years in prison. You also can get a fine of $10,000. Note that if you are convicted for sexual assault in Texas, you often must register as a sex offender after you get out of prison for either 10 years or most often, life.
Further aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony in Texas. If you are convicted, you can receive between five and 99 years in prison and receive a $10,000 fine. You will likely have to register as a sex offender when you’re released from prison.
While sexual assault charges should always be taken seriously, it is not uncommon for people to become wrongly accused of this very serious crime. What people are almost always surprised to learn is this – in a large portion of these charged cases, it simply takes the word of one person saying you did something for you to be charged. That’s all it takes. If you have been charged with this crime, talk to a Galveston criminal defense lawyer today.
Contact Our Criminal Assault & Battery Lawyer In Galveston
If you were charged with assault in Galveston, you need an outstanding criminal defense immediately. The criminal assault lawyers in Galveston can help. Please contact Mark Diaz & Associates today at (409) 515-6170.