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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Among the most common criminal offenses in Plainview are those involving assault. Yet despite their prevalence in criminal courts, many people do not fully understand Texas’ assault laws. It is because of this that they may be surprised to find that they are facing assault charges even if they do not make contact with another person.
An assault charge is always a serious matter and can even be a felony level offense under certain circumstances. Punishments for assault may involve mandatory prison sentences. An experienced criminal attorney can help individuals facing charges for all levels of assault by defending their rights in court and protecting their freedom. Contact a Plainview assault lawyer today.
Elements of Assault
Most people understand an assault to be unwanted physical contact made against another person. While this is certainly true, Texas’ assault law is far more expansive. Texas Penal Code §22.01 provides three definitions of assault:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily danger
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when that contact could reasonably be seen as provocative or offensive
The statute highlights several key factors. First, a person must possess a certain frame of mind to commit assault. In other words, they must intend to cause harm or realize their actions may be expected to cause harm. The law punishes reckless behavior the same as intentional behaviors if bodily injury results.
Second, a person commits assault if they threaten another person with bodily injury. This includes the attempt to commit assault. The question of whether the contact was made is irrelevant. Speak with a Plainview assault lawyer to learn more.
Potential Consequences of Assault in Plainview
The severity of the punishments for assault depends on the target of the assault, the means by which the assault was committed, and the end result. A simple assault with no aggravating factors is a Class C misdemeanor if the person did not make any contact. However, if a person makes contact, the crime is upgraded to at least a Class A misdemeanor.
Assault is much more serious if the charges are upgraded to aggravated assault under Texas Penal Code §22.02. This applies when the assault causes serious bodily injury or the person uses a deadly weapon during the assault. These allegations are always at least second-degree felonies and may be upgraded to first degree if the person commits the offense against a family member.
In general, an assault is treated more severely if the target is a family member, a law enforcement official, a child, a pregnant woman, or an elderly person.
Assault charges range from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies. In general, misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Lessor misdemeanors will lower these penalties and may exclude jail time altogether Felonies are always more serious. Even lesser felonies carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence and heavy fines. If a peron is facing such penalties, they should consult with a Plainview assault lawyer to see what options they may have available to them.
A Plainview Assault Attorney Can Defend Individuals at Every Opportunity
Any allegation of a crime in Plainview is a serious matter. Even for seemingly minor offenses such as assault, the situation can quickly get out of hand and the consequences may be severe.
A Plainview assault lawyer is aware of the need to fight these charges from the moment of arrest. An effective defense will start from the initial arraignment all the way through trial. Contact an attorney today so that they can get to work protecting your rights.