In Texas, it is a crime to assault another individual and cause that individual harm. The assault statute encompasses a range of assault crimes, including both misdemeanors and felonies. If you have been charged with an assault crime in Texas, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to make sure your legal rights are protected. Achieving a favorable result in your case is much more likely if you hire a criminal defense attorney.
What is assault impeding breath?
Assault crimes are listed in Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code.
An individual may be convicted of assault if that individual knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly injures another individual. If the assault includes knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly impeding the victim’s breathing or circulation by blocking the victims’ nose or mouth or by choking the victim, the crime is a second degree felony.
There are five categories of felonies in Texas with prison sentences ranging between 6 months and 99 years. Fines of up to $10,000 are also possible.
An individual convicted of a second degree felony faces between 2 and 20 years in prison. A judge may also order a fine of up to $10,000.
Are there any defenses available in assault cases?
In Texas, the prosecution has the burden of proof in criminal cases. Every element of a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In assault impeding breath charges, the prosecution must show that the accused acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly when committing the crime.
An individual acts intentionally if that individual acts in such as way as to cause a specific result.
If an individual acts knowingly, that individual is aware that his actions will likely cause a specific result.
An individual acts recklessly if that individual is aware a specific result may occur but ignores the risks associated with causing that result.
If the prosecution cannot prove that the accused acted knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly in an assault crime, the charges must be reduced or dismissed. For example, if the accused accidentally impeded someone’s breathing, that individual would not be guilty of assault.
In addition, self-defense is commonly raised by those accused of assault crimes. To be able to allege self-defense, the accused must be able to show that he or she used similar force as compared to the victim. Self-defense may only be used if the victim caused or threatened bodily harm. If the victim was verbally assaulting the accused, and the accused began choking the victim, the claim of self-defense will fail.
Many assault charges are brought based upon the victim’s statements to law enforcement. If the prosecution cannot substantiate the victim’s claims, the charges may be reduced or dismissed. For example, if there are no medical records or photographs that document the victim’s alleged injuries, the charges may not stand.
Criminal defense attorneys are tasked with making sure the prosecution submits valid evidence of a crime. They also study the facts of a case carefully to determine what defenses may be raised by the accused. The criminal defense attorney will work hard to gather evidence that supports these defenses and will submit them to court for a judge’s consideration. Without a criminal defense attorney, someone accused of a crime may face serious jail time and hefty fines.
Have you been accused of assault?
If you have been charged with assault impeding breath, contact the Hampton Eppes Law Group to discuss your case. Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor experienced in all types of criminal cases. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.