ASSAULT LAWYER: HOUSTON & GALVESTON, TX
Overview of Assault in Texas
There are thirteen primary types of assaultive offenses in Texas that can lead to prosecution. Generally, assault is a harmful or offensive touching that can lead to criminal charges.
In Texas, assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the severity of injuries and the position or class of the person harmed. This article will provide an overview of the subject and answer why you need an assault attorney in Houston, Texas.
When is an Assault a Felony in Texas?
Assault is a Third-Degree felony if committed against a public servant on duty at a correctional facility, or against a family member where the defendant has been previously convicted of certain crimes against a family member. Assault is a Second-Degree felony if it is aggravated assault, sexual assault, or assault that involves strangulation, suffocation, or is committed against a peace officer or judge. Assault is a First-Degree felony if it is aggravated assault against a public servant or in retaliation for being an informant, witness, or crime reporter, against a security officer, or against a family member who suffered serious bodily injury, or during a drive-by shooting, aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault against a victim whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry under the bigamy law.
Other assaultive charge classifications can be found on the Texas Attorney General’s chart.
What is Aggravated Assault or Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Texas?
An assault can rise to the level of an aggravated assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon depending on the seriousness of the injury caused or if the device used is capable of causing death. Both aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon are Second-Degree felony charges which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison and a maximum penalty of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Either charge can be brought as a First-Degree felony depending upon the alleged victim, which would carry a minimum sentence of 5 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison with a fine of up to $10,000.
What is the range of punishment for an Assault in Texas?
An assault attorney’s defense strategies can include attacking the prosecutor’s case-in-chief by arguing that the prosecution lacks proof to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be done by proving a lack of evidence or contradictory evidence. Alternatively, a defendant could plead an affirmative defense, admitting the conduct, and providing a legal justification. In cases of assault, consent, self-defense, and medical care may be appropriate defenses depending on the circumstances.
Justification excluding criminal responsibility (self-defense)
In Texas, an individual can be justified in using force and deadly force to defend themselves and others (self-defense defense of others under Chapter 9 of Texas Penal Code). Therefore, it is important to have an attorney that understands assault defenses. If these defenses are successful, a defendant can be absolved of criminal liability relating to an offense. A person is justified in using force against another as they reasonably believe it is immediately necessary to protect themselves or others against the use or attempted use of unlawful force. However, to be justified in using deadly force, an individual must reasonably believe that deadly force is immediately necessary to protect themselves or others from the use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force, or to prevent the imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
Some situations create a legal presumption that the use of force or deadly force is necessary. However, there are also enumerated activities that dictate situations where force is not appropriate such as in response to verbal provocation alone, to resist arrest or search even when such arrest or search is unlawful unless an exception applies, when you’ve consented to or provoked the force, or when you’ve approached someone to discuss differences while armed in violation of Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 or Section 46.05.
How do you Beat an Assault Charge? Get an Experience Houston Assault Attorney!
Consult with an attorney right away. As you can tell, assault charges in Texas can be very serious, and the penalties can be harsh. The attorneys at Walker & Taylor will provide experienced legal representation to help fight the charges. Contact the firm for a free case evaluation by calling (281) 668-9957 today!