Assault charges are often misunderstood by the public, given the varying definitions of the crime “assault” in different states. In some states, assault is a separate charge from battery, while in other states (like Texas), assault includes battery as well. Additionally, assault can also be something as unintentional as simply brushing against someone in a crowded bus. An arrest can initially occur based on minor allegations and it takes a trial or a minimum of negotiations with the prosecution or the court to reach dismissal or an appropriate resolution if an assault occurred. A Houston assault conviction relies upon the intention of the actor. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced Houston assault defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest for assault.
The Texas penal code separates out assault into both ordinary assault and aggravated assault, each of which carries with it a different definition and punishment range.
The crime of assault in Houston, is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knew or should have reasonably believed that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.” This definition can leave the crime open to many interpretations, such as when certain contact rises to the level of offensive or provocative.
The crime of Houston assault reaches “aggravated assault” when the person commits and assault and causes serious bodily injury, or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the assault. Reckless driving falls within the general definition of aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is additionally considered a lesser offense of attempted murder. An experienced Houston assault defense attorney will assist you in understanding the different crimes which may fall within aggravated assault and assault.
Ordinary Houston assault is a Class A misdemeanor, although may sometimes reach the level of a third degree felony in specific situations, such as when the assault is against a public servant. A Class A misdemeanor is a lower offense than a felony, and carries with it a punishment of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Read more on the the different classifications of Misdemeanors. A third degree felony, on the other hand, is a more severe offense. Felony convictions have a lasting impact on a person’s ability to find gainful employment, vote in general elections, and even maintain custody of their children. A third degree felony has a punishment range of 2-10 years in prison with a potential fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated assault is a second degree felony, and similarly may reach the level of a first degree felony in specific situations, such as against a public servant. A first degree felony has a punishment range of either life or 5-99 years in prison. A first degree felony conviction may also include up to a $10,000 fine.
Of course, assaults in Houston can range from a Class C misdemeanor assault, which could be any minor touching of any kind, up to a capital murder charge, and everything in between. There are Class B assaults, First, Second and Third Degree Felony assaults, each building upon the intent, the act, and the result of each individual situation. This is why you need the experienced Houston assault defense lawyers to represent you, to avoid more serious penalties for minor infractions.
If you have been arrested on charges of assault in Houston, do not hesitate to contact Mary E. Conn Law. Mary E. Conn is an experienced assault defense lawyer who has spent years defending clients against criminal charges, including assault. Assault in Houston is often based on the testimony of one victim or witness, and therefore many different interpretations can take place regarding what actually took place. An assault arrest is not yet a conviction, and Mary E. Conn will work hard to ensure your facts are accurately presented to the judge and jury. Contact us at our Houston office today for your initial free consultation on (713) 357-4190.