If you have been arrested for an assault crime in Texas, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to make sure you understand your legal rights, as well as your legal options. Assault charges have serious consequences for the accused. You could lose your job, you may be wrongly labeled as a violent person, and, if you are accused of certain crimes in the future, you may automatically be charged with a felony. Therefore, it is wise to hire an attorney as soon as possible and fight assault charges.
What is assault by contact?
Assault by contact is enveloped in Texas’ general assault statute. Someone may be convicted of assault by contact if that person intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another person, knowing that the contact will be provocative or offensive.
Unlike other assault charges, it does not matter if bodily injury occurred, or if some type of bodily injury was threatened. Instead, the prosecutor must show that the contact is offensive or provocative.
Prosecutors must prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that a jury could draw no other conclusion except that the accused committed the crime.
Prosecutors must show that the accused had the requisite mental state to commit the crime, however. Assault by contact requires “knowingly” or “intentionally” causing the contact with another individual.
Committing an act “knowingly” means behaving in such a way that the individual should know his actions are reasonably certain to cause a specific result.
Committing an act “intentionally” if that person specifically desires a certain result and acts in such a manner as to obtain that result.
Penalties for assault by contact
Assault by contact is a class C misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors may result in a fine of up to $500.
However, if the crime was committed against a disabled person or an elderly person, the crime becomes a class B misdemeanor.
If the crime was committed against an athlete by a non-athlete, such as in a sporting event, the crime is a class B misdemeanor.
For class B misdemeanors, a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days may be ordered.
Defenses to assault by contact
To prove assault by contact, prosecutors must show the accused acted knowingly or intentionally. Therefore, if you did not intentionally or knowingly cause the contact with the alleged victim, you may be able to raise this defense.
In other cases, you may be able to argue self-defense.
To ensure proper defenses are identified and supported with evidence in your assault claim, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your charges. Your criminal defense attorney will study your case and make sure that your legal rights are protected. Your attorney will argue against any invalid evidence presented by the prosecution. In addition, your attorney will gather any evidence necessary to defend you in your claim. Your attorney may speak with witnesses, gather photographs, obtain video surveillance footage, and any other pieces of evidence that support your arguments.
Without a criminal defense attorney on your side, you may not even know what defenses you are able to raise. Additionally, your attorney will ensure that the legal process moves forward smoothly.
If you need a criminal defense attorney, call today
At the Hampton Eppes Law Group, we understand that facing criminal charges is stressful. Attorney Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor with broad experience in the Texas criminal justice system. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.