June 21, 2018
If you are facing assault charges in Texas, there are a number of different defense strategies that a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to use to get your charges reduced or dropped. In this post, we’ll provide an overview of the law and associated penalties, then describe which defenses may work for your case.
Definition of Assault in Texas
Texas law describes assault like so:
“A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
(3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.”
Texas Penalties for Assault
Assault is usually a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. However, it can be raised to a third degree felony if committed against certain protected classes, including relatives, dating partners, or public officials.
If you are convicted on a Class A misdemeanor, you will face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. A third degree felony conviction will result in a prison sentence of 2-10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Since these penalties are so serious, you need the help of a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney to fight your charges with a strong defense.
Defenses to Texas Assault Charges
Depending on the circumstances of your case, one or more of the following common assault defenses may work.
Acting in Self Defense
If you were acting against a valid threat of unlawful harm or force against you, you may be able to use this defense. You must be able to show that your fear of harm was reasonable, that you did not provoke the other person’s actions, and that you had no reasonable way of leaving the premises.
Depending on certain details, you may still be found guilty of assault even when acting in self-defense. A knowledgeable Texas criminal attorney can study the details of your case to let you know if this defense is viable for you.
Acting in Defense of Others
If you had a reasonable fear that harm to another person would happen without your physical intervention, you may be able to use this defense.
Acting in Defense of Property
If your property was being invaded or withheld by your opposer, the judge may dismiss your case. As a property owner, you have the right to defend your property with reasonable force, particularly if the property at issue is your home or place of residence. If your personal property was being withheld, other stipulations apply. An experienced lawyer will know if this defense is right for your case.
Acting with Consent
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to use this defense to get your charges reduced or dropped. However, it is up to the judge whether to penalize you for assault even if it was committed with consent.
In cases of misidentification, the alibi defense may work. You will want to have documentation or witness accounts to show that your alibi is solid.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will know which defense is likely to produce the best possible outcome for you. Call for your free case review with an attorney who will build a strong defense against your assault charges.
About the Author:
Jeff Hampton has been practicing law in Texas in 2005, first in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, and now as a private attorney with the Hampton Eppes Law Group, protecting the rights of Texans who have suffered injury due to negligence or are facing criminal charges. His success in helping people with their legal troubles has been recognized by clients and peers alike, with a Top Attorney designation and 10/10 Superb Rating on Avvo, and a place on the National Trial Lawyers list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.