Can I beat an Assault Charge?
This is complicated area. Often the State of Texas will “overcharge” the offense. To understand your potential defenses, you need to know how Texas penalizes certain types of behavior.
Class C – Punishable by fine of up to $ 500.00
If you intentionally or knowingly threaten another person with imminent bodily injury or cause physical contact with another person when you know or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Class A – Punishable by fine up to $ 4,000.00 and one year in the County Jail
If you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another.
Class II or Second Degree Felony – $10,000.00 fine and up to 20 years in prison
If you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another or if you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another and exhibit a deadly weapon.
(NOTE: You do not have to use the deadly weapon. If you threaten a person with imminent bodily injury [Class C fine only] but you have a knife in your hand, you could be charged with a Second Degree Felony. A “deadly weapon” under Texas law can include a tire iron, pliers, baseball bat, and even a vehicle.)
This area of law is complicated. The level of crime may depend on who you assaulted. The penalty is different whether it is a police officer or a person at the bar.
Defenses To Assault Charge
There are many defenses and many ways to lower the level of the offense. Defenses I commonly hear include
- Self Defense: You may have committed the assault, but you had to protect yourself.
- Defense of Another: You may have committed the assault, but you were protecting another person.
- Unintentional or Mistake
- The supposed victim is not telling the truth. You did not assault anyone.
- You’re the parent of the child, and you were performing corporal punishment that was reasonable under the circumstances.
URGENT: If you have been charged with Assault Family Violence
Assault with the added charge of Family Violence carries additional consequences most people do not understand until after they plead Guilty.
Pursuant to Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004, family violence means:
(1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
The consequences to an affirmative finding of family violence are overwhelming.
- Your custody rights are permanently affected. If you fight for custody of your child, the Family Law Court will be prevented from naming you “managing conservator” of a child in any divorce action or action requiring the placement of a child.
- You cannot adopt a child.
- You cannot possess or transport a firearm or ammunition under Federal law.
- Your plea to Assault Family Violence can be used to enhance to Third Degree. You may face ten years in prison on an allegation.
- You will not be granted a Concealed Carry Permit.
- If you are not a citizen, it will affect your ability to become a citizen. You could be deported.