Assault DefenseAssaultive offenses generally include assault,
battery, domestic (or family) violence, aggravated assault, and
homicide. If you are charged or arrested for one of these crimes you
need to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The lawyers at Gunter and Bennett well versed in assaultive offenses.
Please note that the criminal laws in Texas involve a separate process
when a juvenile is charged with a crime.
Texas, Assault can be a Class C Misdemeanor, Class A Misdemeanor, or a
Felony. The Class C Misdemeanor is sometimes referred to as “Simple
Assault.” You can be charged with simple assault if you “cause physical
contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe
that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.” A
regular Class A Assault is where a person “causes bodily injury to
another.” In Texas, “bodily injury” means pain. For example, if someone
pushes you, but it did not hurt, they may be charged with simple
assault. If they push you and it hurts (even if there is no visible
injury) they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor assault.
Felony assault, and there are different degrees,
are generally charged when serious bodily injury occurs. “Serious bodily
injury” is defined as “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of
death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or
protected loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or
organ.” An example may be one where a bone is broken during an assault.
This is generally referred to as “aggravated assault.” Assault on a
peace officer is also a felony offense and is charged when a person
commits regular assault with the added element of it being against a
Of course, the highest level of assaultive offenses is
homicide which includes the offenses: murder, capital murder,
manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. These are very serious
crimes. Generally, murder is where a person intentionally or knowingly
causes the death of a person. A person may be charged with capital
murder where they intentionally or knowingly cause the death of a person
in the course of committing another offense such as robbery, burglary,
kidnapping (just to name a few). Manslaughter is charged when a person
recklessly causes the death of another. Finally, criminally negligent
homicide is just that, homicide that is caused by criminal negligence.
Violence, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence are generally
lumped together under the term “domestic violence.” If you are involved
in an assault where one of the other parties is a family member,
roommate, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s a whole different ball
game. Texas law takes domestic violence very seriously.
Assuming no bodily injury or choking occurred (and we’ll choking below)
domestic violence assault is generally a Class A Misdemeanor. When a
person is convicted of domestic violence—or even successfully completes
deferred adjudication and had their case dismissed—the court enters a
“Family Violence Finding.” This family violence finding will follow you
for the rest of your life. If you are ever arrested a second time for
family violence the charge gets bumped up from a Class A Misdemeanor to a
Second Degree Felony. Since this is Texas, it’s important to note that
if you have a family violence finding, you may never own or possess a
firearm or ammunition. To do so is against state and federal law.
Texas law has also recently changed regarding domestic violence. Under
the new law, if you “impede the normal breathing” of a person in the
course of committing the offense of domestic violence you will be
charged with a second degree felony (as opposed to a Class A
Misdemeanor). Since the change in the law, all of our clients who have
been charged with domestic violence and who have put their hand
somewhere around or on the other person’s neck or throat have been
charged with a second degree felony.
Punishment for AssaultThe Class C Misdemeanor offense of simple
assault is punishable by a
fine only up to $500. It is possible to be charged with a simple assault
involving domestic violence. A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable up to
one year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. Aggravated Assault or an
enhanced domestic violence assault is a second degree felony punishable
by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Murder is a first degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison
and up to a $10,000 fine. Capital murder is considered a capital felony
and is punishable by either life in prison or death. The good news is
that there is no fine if you are convicted of capital murder.
Manslaughter is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in
prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Criminally negligent homicide is a
state jail felony and is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in a state
jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine.
If your case is dismissed it is probably eligible to be expunged. We
always encourage our clients to pursue an expunction if they are
eligible. An expunction allows you to legally deny that you were ever
charged or arrested for a crime. It is a very worthwhile procedure and
one that we can help you with.
Contact Us for Assault Defense
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