Summary of Assault Charges in Texas

assault bodily injury texasThere are numerous types of assault crimes in Texas.

They range from Simple Assault, which is Class C misdemeanor, to Aggravated Assault, which is typically a Second Degree felony (although there are circumstances in which it could be charged as a First Degree Felony). Every type of Assault requires a different type of defense in order to be successful.

Assault cases evoke strong emotional reactions – at the heart of an assault allegation is an injured person. However, the criminal laws have multiple definitions of “injury” and a range of punishment for each type of injury.

Anyone accused of assault should get help from a domestic violence lawyer. At the Tidwell Law Firm, we have defended many individuals that faced assault charges in Texas.

Simple Assault & Bodily Injury in Texas

Penal Code Elements & Punishments

§22.01(a)(1) Tex Penal Code – Causes Bodily Injury

  1. A person
  2. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
  3. Causes bodily injury
  4. To another, including the person’s spouse

Punishment:

  1. Class A Misdemeanor, or
  2. 3rd Degree Felony

§22.01(a)(2) Tex Penal Code – Threatens Bodily Injury

  1. A person
  2. intentionally or knowingly
  3. threatens another, including the person’s spouse
  4. with imminent bodily injury

Punishment:

  1. Class C Misdemeanor, or
  2. Class B Misdemeanor

§22.01(a)(3) Tex Penal Code – Causes offensive or provocative contact

  1. A person
  2. Intentionally or knowingly
  3. Causes physical contact with another
  4. When the actor knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative

Punishment:

  1. Class C Misdemeanor,
  2. Class B Misdemeanor, or
  3. Class A Misdemeanor

Aggravated Assault & Bodily Injury in Texas

§22.02 Tex Penal Code

  1. A person
  2. Commits assault as defined in Pen §22.01, and
    1. Causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; or
    2. Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault

Punishment:

  1. 2nd Degree Felony, or
  2. 1st Degree Felony

Lesser Included Offenses:

  1. Assault (3rd degree felony or Class A, B, or C misdemeanor); Pen §22.01
  2. Deadly Conduct (3rd degree felony or Class A misdemeanor); Pen §22.05
  3. Reckless Driving; Transp §545.401(a)

ARE YOU FACING AN ASSAULT CHARGE?

Then you need to speak to a lawyer right away. Discuss your case with an experienced Collin County defense attorney during a free consultation.

Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual

§22.04(a) Tex Penal Code – By Individual

  1. A person
    1. Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by act, or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission causes serious bodily injury
    2. Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by act, or knowingly, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission causes serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
    3. Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by act, or knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly by omission causes bodily injury
  2. To a child, elderly individual,  or disabled individual

Punishment:

  1. State Jail Felony, if:
    1. Recklessly causes bodily injury; or
    2. Acts with criminal negligence
  2. 3rd Degree Felony, if: intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury
  3. 2nd Degree Felony, if: recklessly causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury
  4. 1st Degree Felony, if: intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury

§22.04(a-1) Tex Penal Code – By Caretaker

  1. A person
  2. Who is an owner, operator, or employee of
  3. A group home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate care facility for person with mental retardation, or other institutional care facility
  4. Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by omission
    1. Causes serious bodily injury;
    2. Causes serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury;
    3. Causes bodily injury; or
    4. Causes exploitation
  5. To a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
  6. Who is a resident of that group or home facility

Punishment:

  1. State Jail Felony, if:
    1. Recklessly causes bodily injury or exploitation
    2. Acts with criminal negligence
  2. 3rd Degree Felony, if: intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury or exploitation
  3. 2nd Degree Felony, if: recklessly causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury
  4. 1st Degree Felony, if: intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury

Abandoning or Endangering a Child

§22.041(b) Tex Penal Code – Abandons

  1. A person
  2. Having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years of age
  3. Intentionally
  4. Abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm, and
  5. The person did not voluntarily deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider under Fam §262.302

Punishment:

  1. State Jail Felony, if: abandons the child with intent to return for the child
  2. 3rd Degree Felony, if: abandons the child without intent to return for the child
  3. 2nd Degree Felony, if: abandons the child under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment

§22.041(c) Tex Penal Code – Endangers

  1. A person
  2. Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence
  3. Engages in conduct by act or omission
  4. That places a child younger than 15 years
  5. In imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, and
  6. The person did not voluntarily deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider under Fam §262.302

Punishment: State Jail Felony

Deadly Conduct

§22.05(a) Tex Penal Code – Imminent danger of serious bodily injury

  1. A person
  2. Recklessly
  3. Engages in conduct
  4. That places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury

Punishment: Class A Misdemeanor

§22.05(b)(1) Tex Penal Code – Discharges a firearm — individual

  1. A person
  2. Knowingly
  3. Discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a
  4. One or more individuals

Punishment: 3rd Degree Felony

Harassment by Persons in Certain Correctional Facilities; Harassment of Public Servant

§22.11(a)(1) Tex Penal Code — While imprisoned or confined

  1. A person
  2. With intent to assault, harass, or alarm another person, and
  3. While imprisoned or confined in a correctional or detention facility
  4. Causes another person to contact
  5. The blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of
  6. The actor or any other person, or an animal

Punishment: 3rd Degree Felony

§22.11(a)(2) Tex Penal Code — While public servant lawfully discharging duty, in retaliation, or exercising official power

  1. A person
  2. With intent to assault, harass, or alarm another person,
  3. Causes another person the actor knows to be a public servant to contact
  4. The blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of
  5. The actor, any other person, or an animal
    1. While the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty;
    2. In retaliation, or
    3. On account of an exercise of the public servant’s official power or performance of an official duty

Punishment: 3rd Degree Felony

Defenses to Assault Charges in Texas

If you have been charged with assault in Texas, it’s important that you understand the possible defense options available to you. A criminal charge is not a conviction, and by working with an experienced lawyer, you may be able to secure a conviction of innocent, or escape the harshest penalties applied under the law.

Some of the most common defenses to assault charges in Texas that may apply to your case include:

  • Legally-justifiable defense. While one defense option is to try to argue that you didn’t commit the assault crime in question, another option is to admit that you did indeed do that of which you are being accused, but that the assault was legally justifiable. The most common type of legally-justifiable defense is the argument that you were acting in self-defense, or in the defense of another person whom you believed was in danger of suffering imminent harm.
  • Lack of evidence defense. The other defense option that you may use is that you simply did not do the crime of which you are being accused. In order to win a case based on this defense, you will need to show that the prosecution does not have the evidence that is necessary to convict you. Remember that in order to secure a criminal conviction, the prosecution has the burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Poking holes in the prosecution’s argument and refuting any evidence presented against you may be enough to prevent a conviction.

Our criminal defense lawyer can review your case and help you to build your defense based on the specifics of your situation.

What You Should Do Immediately Following an Assault Arrest/Charge

If you are arrested and charged with assault in Texas, you should act quickly and deliberately to protect your rights. Here are some things that you should do and avoid doing when arrested and charged with a crime–

  • Exercise your right to remain silent. You have the right to remain silent, which means that you do not have to answer any question asked of you by the police or an attorney for the state. Staying silent is within your best interests, as anything you say could be used against you at a later date. Wait until you meet with your own attorney before answering any questions.
  • Exercise your right to legal counsel. You also have the right to an attorney, and this right should be exercised immediately. As soon as you are arrested, tell the police officer that you want to talk to your attorney immediately.
  • Do not enter a plea of guilty. After you are arrested, the charges against you will be formally read, and you will have an opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty for the court record. Do not plead guilty! Once you plead guilty, your case is over and you will be given no further chance of defending yourself or negotiating a plea bargain. Wait until talking to an attorney and discussing your options before entering a plea.
  • Stay away from your accuser and avoid legal trouble. If you are released while charges against you are pending, it is within your best interest to stay away from your accuser – this includes avoiding any conversations over the phone with your accuser (more common in instances of domestic violence). Also be sure to keep a safe distance from any illegal activity or people who participate in illegal activity, as this will not reflect well upon you during your case.

Contact the Tidwell Law Firm Today

If you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, please contact The Tidwell Law Firm.

We are dedicated to providing quality legal representation to clients throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex, including Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Denton counties (Plano, McKinney, Allen, Arlington, Richardson, Carrollton, Grand Prarie, Irving, Southlake, Coppell, etc).

Contact us today!

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