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Assault is a criminal charge involving violence that the prosecution is going to take very seriously. The offense is enhanced if a weapon was used, there was an injury, and/or involved a family member (Assault – Family Violence, sometimes called domestic assault, family violence, or domestic violence). In Texas, the offense level for assault can range from misdemeanor up to felony level penalties and punishments depending on the circumstances. The results can be dire and you should call Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys Mitch Miers & Andrew Griffin to help.
If the charge involves family violence, the ramifications can extend to your ability see your children or owning a gun. Limits on possessing firearms are permanent when there is a finding of family violence in a case. Family members are not only those who make up a traditional family member, but also those you date and, under Texas law, a roommate! Call criminal defense attorney and domestic violence lawyer Mitch Miers to find out more.
Under the laws of Texas, you can be charged with assault if you:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to someone else, including your spouse.
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten someone else, including your spouse, with imminent bodily injury.
- 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.
Types of Assault Charges in Tarrant County
Simple Assault – A “simple” assault occurs if the assault did not result in any physical harm or injury; or you threatened someone or touched the victim in a way that they considered to be offensive or proactive.
Aggravated Assault – Simple becomes aggravated assault when the victim suffers severe bodily harm or injury, or a deadly weapon was used or brandished during the commission of the assault.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon – If you use or display a deadly weapon during the commission of this act, you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Some of the items that Texas state law considers to be a “deadly weapon” include firearms, explosive devices, clubs, knives and metal knuckles.
Assault against a Public Servant – Assault against a public servant will result in a felony assault charge. Examples of a public servant can include an officer, employee, or agent of government; a juror or grand juror; an attorney at law or notary public performing a governmental function; and a candidate running for election to a public office. An offense in which a public servant is killed could result in the death penalty.
Domestic Violence Assault – In Texas, domestic violence is defined as an assault against a family member, household member (such as a roommate), or a current or past dating partner. Factors that could influence sentencing include your relation to the victim, past convictions for domestic violence and whether strangulation or suffocation was involved.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault Charges in Tarrant County
Penalties for misdemeanors in Texas:
- A class C misdemeanor assault conviction could result in a fine of up to $500.
- A class B misdemeanor assault conviction could result in jail time of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
- A class A misdemeanor assault conviction could result in jail time of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Class C Misdemeanor Assault
The act does not result in serious bodily harm or injury, you threatened someone, or touched someone in an inappropriate manner.
Class B Misdemeanor Assault
Simple assault becomes a Class B misdemeanor if you:
- Make a terroristic threat, or
- Are not a sports participant but act against a sports participant (such as an athlete, coach or referee) while they are on the field or in retaliation against an action made by a sports participant, such as a bad play, bad call, etc.
Class A Misdemeanor Assault
Simple assault becomes a Class A misdemeanor if you:
- Recklessly engage in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury;
- Act against an elderly or disabled individual;
- Act against a pregnant individual to force that individual to have an abortion;
- Make a terroristic threat against a public servant;
- Threaten violence against a member of your family or household; or
- Prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place.
Felony Assault Charges in Texas
Certain types of assault can result in felony charges. If your actions cause serious bodily harm to another person (including the person’s spouse) or you brandish or used a deadly weapon during the incident, then it becomes “aggravated” assault. In Texas, “aggravated” assault is a felony offense.
You can also face a charge of felony assault if the attack was directed towards certain parties, such as a public servant or family member or if you have had a recent assault conviction against the same person. Assault lawyers Mitch Miers and Andrew Griffin can help.
Penalties for felony assault in Texas:
- A third degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 2 to 10 years and fines up to $10,000
- A second degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 2 to 20 years and fines up to $10,000.
- A first degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 5 – 99 years or life and up to $10,000 in fines.
3rd Degree Felony Assault Charges
A Class A misdemeanor assault charge could be bumped up to a third degree felony if:
- You have a previous domestic violence conviction and are charged with assault against a family member or someone you are romantically involved with.
- The act was against someone you knew to be a public servant or government contractor
- The act was against an emergency worker or uniformed security guard while they are doing their job.
2nd Degree Felony Assault Charge
If you used a weapon during the alleged assault, or if serious injury occurred, then you could be charged with aggravated assault, which is a second degree felony in Texas.
1st Degree Felony Assault Charge
You could be charge with first degree felony assault if:
- You have a previous conviction for assault;
- The act was committed against a family member, household resident or dating partner;
- The act was committed against a public servant who was performing their duty;
- The act was in retaliation against the decision of judgement of a public servant;
- The act was committed against a uniformed security officer who was on duty at the time of the assault;
- The act was committed against an emergency response worker;
- The act was committed against a witness to a crime; or
- The act was committed against an informant.
There are situations where you need to defend yourself. However, it’s doubtful that you will be seen by a prosecutor in a defensive manner and the services of a criminal defense attorney can help bring the truth to light.
The police may arrest you with very little evidence if they feel you are being belligerent or difficult. They will probably arrest you if you are being passive and cooperative. Generally, someone will get a arrested when domestic violence occurs. An arrest doesn’t mean you committed a crime, however, and you should seriously consider fighting the charges to keep your record clean. No one should be stuck with a domestic violence conviction on their criminal record just for getting in a heated argument. Contact the domestic violence attorneys at Griffin Miers to find out how we can help you. Tarrant family violence lawyers Mitch Miers & Andrew Griffin provide assault defense and complete criminal defense services in Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Denton counties.