Defending Against Assault And Battery Charges In Texas
Assault and battery charges in Texas can arise fairly easily – an argument gets out of hand, a misunderstanding occurs, or objects get thrown. When law enforcement gets involved, at least one person may end up being charged with an assaultive crime under the Texas Penal Code. In Texas, “assault and battery” crimes are treated as assault, rather than as distinct crimes of assault or battery.
Even though the alleged offense may seem routine and minor, it can carry serious repercussions and even jail time if convicted. Additionally, conviction of an assaultive offense can have long-lasting consequences as part of your criminal record, and a potential “red flag” when applying for jobs. Conviction can also be used against you in the future, if you are ever charged again with assault or family violence.
Penalties for assault in Texas can vary based on the facts of the case and the harm caused. Simple assault, such as making a threat or some unwanted contact, can be charged as a Class C Misdemeanor with a small fine up to $500. Other types of physical contact, including that causing some type of injury, can be Class A or B Misdemeanors, involving jail time up to six months or a year, plus substantial fines.
Assault charges can be upgraded to felonies in some situations, such as assault against:
- Elderly persons
- Family members, spouses, or individuals in a dating relationship
- Public servants or law enforcement officers acting in their official duties
- Emergency service personnel
- Potential witnesses in a pending criminal case
Other scenarios involving upgraded charges included aggravated assault (causing serious injury, or involving a deadly weapon) and sexual assault.
What the Prosecution Must Prove in Texas Assault Cases
Under Texas law, a person commits assault when they:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another;
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten another with imminent bodily harm;
- Intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another (when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative).
No matter how the assault charge is categorized, the prosecution must show some level of intent and knowledge by the alleged perpetrator.
A defendant may be able to argue that the contact was accidental, or incidental to some other activity. Consent by the alleged victim and self-defense can also be crucial arguments for someone charged with an assaultive crime.
Assault cases can be complicated and frustrating when it is just your word against someone else’s. From the outset of the case, you will need to identify potential witnesses and seek any available surveillance footage if the incident occurred in a public area. Having an experienced Pearland criminal defense attorney at your side from the earliest stages of your case can help you collect evidence supporting your side.
We Will Defend Against Assault and Battery Charges in the Pearland, Texas Area
An assault arrest can carry severe consequences – for your liberty and from a personal and professional standpoint. We will thoroughly investigate all facts involved in your case and aggressively fight for your legal rights. Our experience in negotiating with prosecutors may also lead to lesser charges or even dismissal of the case against you, based on the facts involved. Contact a Pearland assault & battery lawyer at the offices of Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today or call 832-243-6153 for a free case evaluation to get started.