Statistics concerning assaults and violent offenses in the state of Texas vary from source to source, but it’s safe to say that there are over 100,000 alleged assaults in the lone-star state every year—and that’s just the number being reported. The actual number is probably significantly higher.
Assault cases often fall under what is known as the “one witness rule” in the state of Texas. Simply stated, this means that one person‘s testimony, if believed beyond a reasonable doubt, is enough to convict the accused of an assault in front of a jury. While every situation is different, many times allegations of assault occur after an alleged initial incident reported at a later time. The general public may think that anyone accused of an alleged assault would be contacted by a law-enforcement officer to get their side of the story, this is far from what happens in most cases.
A vast majority of the time, an allegation from one person, even without corroborating evidence, is sufficient for an officer to issue an arrest warrant. Right or wrong, this is especially true when the alleged perpetrator of the crime is a male against a female. Fairness is not of the paramount of an officer’s decision-making—preventing future violence or not allowing it to escalate is an officer’s primary objective. This type of police work often leads to many citizens being falsely arrested based on false accusations.
If you have been charged with assault, contact Austin Criminal Lawyer today to discuss your case with an experienced assault attorney. Understanding your charges can be extremely confusing, but we are here to help.
Assault Crimes in Texas
A person commits assault (often referred to as ‘simple assault’) if he/she:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
- intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
- intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Texas, but multiple factors could cause the charge to become more severe and move up to a felony level. This can occur if, for instance, a weapon is used during the commission of an assault, or if there is strangulation alleged by the complainant.
Types of Assault and Battery Charges in Texas
Many people believe, and I’ve always heard, that the term “assault and battery” (when referring to instances of violence) is between people. In Texas, the legal terminology is simply “assault;” there is no separate crime of battery. It is, however, important to explain that there are multiple types of assault which have differing levels of potential punishment.
Assault crime can fall into any of the following misdemeanor classes depending on the severity of the charge.
Class C Misdemeanor Assault
A misdemeanor assault can start with the most simple of crimes, a Class C misdemeanor. This is the most minor of assault offenses, i.e. threatening an assault, spitting, poking them with a finger in the chest, etc. This type of charge carries no potential jail time and a maximum fine of up to $500.
Class B Misdemeanor Assault
And assault rises to the level of a Class B misdemeanor if the contact causes another party pain. Punching, kicking, biting, pulling hair or shoving someone to the ground would all be consistent with the legal definition of a Class B assault
Class A Misdemeanor Assault
Assault rises to the level of a Class A misdemeanor if it meets the requirements of a Class B misdemeanor, plus the additional requirement that the parties are in a dating relationship, a former dating relationship, members of the same household, or family members.
Assault crimes rise to the felony level under more extreme circumstances (as explained below), and in those circumstances contacting an assault attorney right away is often the best course of action. Building your defense while the incident is fresh can be helpful.
Domestic Violence Assault
In the cases of a felony domestic violence assault, all of the elements of a Class A assault must be met, plus the additional allegation of strangulation or impeding breath or blood flow by causing pressure to someone’s neck area.
The most serious of all assaults is considered aggravated assault, and this occurs when a person attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or causes serious bodily injury to another on purpose knowingly or recklessly. Aggravated assault also includes attempting to cause on purpose or knowingly causes bodily injury while using a deadly weapon. Examples include using a bat, wrench, gun, knife, or any other weapon that causes the injury.
Types of Assault Defenses
Many people are confused with regard to their rights, as there are multiple defenses that can exclude one from legal culpability should they be involved in an assault. These include:
- Self defense
- Defense of others
- Defense of property
- Mutual combat
Consult Expert Assault and Battery Attorney James Gill for Your Case
Assault cases are some of the most serious, and carry some of the harshest penalties of any crimes in the state of Texas. It is imperative when exploring lawyers for assault cases that you have an experienced assault attorney to defend you in this area, and that’s why you should only hire the best to fight your case.
Call The Law Offices of James Gill, PLLC today at (512) 448-4560 to schedule your consultation. We serve all of Austin, Westlake, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos and the surrounding TX communities.