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The following is a guest article courtesy of Rosenblum Law Firm.
Assault charges can carry serious penalties and consequences. In Texas assault charges are outlined in the Texas Penal Code Chapter 22. A criminal assault is defined under Texas law when a person:
In general an assault is any act of violence or aggression that involves a physical touching of another person that should reasonably believe to offend or cause provocation to that person. This means that an assault in Texas can range anywhere from a simple threat, an argument within the home, a fistfight or an attack with the use of a weapon. For an assault the key is seeing if the act was offensive and if any aggravating factors were present.
Depending on the specific circumstances within the case, assault charges can range from a misdemeanor to very serious felony charges. In general, the injuries involved and if a weapon was used are considered aggravating factors and usually increase the severity of the assault.
In Texas a simple assault is ordinarily when threats are made or an offensive touching has occurred with minor to no injuries, which is classified as a Class C misdemeanor with a penalty of $500. Texas also distinguishes threats made on a sports official and classifies the action as a Class B misdemeanor with a fine up to $2000 and up to 6 months in jail. Texas has punished individuals that attack elderly people a more serious offense, which is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a stiffer fine of up to $4000 and a max sentence of one year in the county jail.
Simple assaults can be upgraded to a felony charge where the assault was taken against a government official, police officer, emergency services worker and security guard. A simple assault can also become a felony charge in cases where there was a previous domestic violence conviction. A third degree felony in Texas carries a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Assault is considered aggravated assault in Texas if serious injury is involved, or if a weapon is used while committing an assault. Aggravated assault is considered a more serious crime than simple assault and carries harsher penalties. Aggravated assault is usually considered a second degree felony in Texas, and carries penalties of a fine of up to $10,000 and from 2 to 20 years in prison.
A first degree felony assault is when the person commits the assault against someone where a domestic relationship exists. A first degree felony conviction can sometimes carry a prison sentence from 5 years to life.