If you’re facing an aggravated assault charge in Texas, you may wonder what the difference is between simple assault and aggravated assault. In this post, we’ll explain the difference and tell you what you can do to fight your charges.
Texas Assault Charges
In Texas, you can be charged with simple assault for the following reasons:
- You intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily injury to another person.
- You intentionally or knowingly threatened another person with imminent bodily injury.
- You intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with another person when you had knowledge or should have had reasonable knowledge that the other person would find the physical contact offensive or provocative.
Simple assault is usually a class C misdemeanor in Texas. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $500.
It can be raised to a class A misdemeanor charge if the victim is elderly or disabled. A conviction will result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both.
It can also be converted to a class B misdemeanor charge if it is committed against a sports official or athlete at a sporting event. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, or both.
Depending on the circumstances, the simple assault charge may qualify as a first, second, or third degree felony, punishable by years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Your charge may be issued as aggravated assault under the following conditions:
- You intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused serious bodily injury to someone else.
- You exhibited or used a deadly weapon during the offense. This includes threatening someone else with bodily injury or exhibiting behavior that the victim would reasonably find offensive.
Bodily Injury vs. Serious Bodily Injury in Texas
The difference between bodily injury and serious bodily injury is as follows:
“Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
“Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
A conviction for aggravated assault will result in a second degree felony, which is punishable with 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. This applies for using a deadly weapon during the assault.
If the use of a deadly weapon during assault causes serious bodily injury to the victim, a first degree felony charge will result. This is a serious charge with a penalty of 5-99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defenses to Aggravated Assault Charges in Texas
You can be charged with aggravated assault even if you did not touch the alleged victim. Merely waving a deadly weapon and making a threat, can lead to charges of aggravated assault.
A knowledgeable Fort Worth criminal defense attorney will help you find a viable defense to your charges. Defenses may include the following:
- No deadly weapon was used
- No threats were made
- Acting in defense of others
A skilled lawyer can help you fight the charges that will result in loss of freedom. Since your future is at stake, call for a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who will work to protect your rights.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.