According to Texas Penal Code §22.01, you could be arrested for the crime of simple assault if you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person, threaten another person with imminent bodily harm or cause physical contact with another person that you know is provocative or offensive. If the extent of the victim's injuries is more than a minor cut, scrape or bruise (i.e. the victim is hospitalized for their injuries), however, you will most likely be charged with aggravated assault.
Since the definition of assault is so broad, it is possible that you could be charged with this crime even if you did not actually touch the other person. If you tell someone that you are going to beat them up, and that person fears that they are in imminent danger, you could be charged with simple assault. You could also be charged with this crime if you make "provocative" or "offensive" contact with another person—which could be as minor as poking someone in the chest.
The Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault
In the state of Texas, simple assault can either be charged as a Class A, Class B or Class C misdemeanor. The severity of the charges will depend on the nature of the altercation. If the assault resulted in minor injuries to the victim, for example, you would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the altercation only involved threatening or touching, you could face Class C misdemeanor charges. If a threat was made against a sports official or referee, however, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
- Class A misdemeanor: up to one year in jail and $4,000 in fines
- Class B misdemeanor: up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines
- Class C misdemeanor: up to $500 in fines
In some cases, the defendant will also be required to pay victim restitution—which may include reimbursement for medical treatment or counseling, or property damage.
When Simple Assault Becomes a Third Degree Felony
While most simple assault cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors, it is possible for your charges to be bumped up to a third degree felony if certain aggravating factors exist.
You could be charged with a third degree felony offense if:
- The assault is committed against a public servant or government official
- The assault is committed against a security guard or emergency services worker
- The assault is committed against a family member or domestic partner
The penalties for a third degree felony can include up to 10 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. If a weapon was used, you could also be charged with aggravated assault.
Let A. Oliver Hassibi Fight to Protect Your Rights
Although simple assault may seem like a minor offense, it is important to remember that a conviction could land you in jail for up to a year. For this reason, you should waste no time in contacting a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi as soon as you have been arrested. I have been representing the criminally accused for more than a decade, which has resulted in a long history of case successes. Don't wait to get the help that you need – contact my office now for a free consultation!
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