Assault and battery is a serious charge that involves the accused individual threatening the safety of another person or physically injuring them. While physical contact can lead to assault and battery charges, it is not a requirement. You can face assault and battery charges for verbal harassment or even threatening statements made over electronic communication. Actual physical violence is not necessary, although if a physical altercation occurs and the victim is harmed, the severity of the charges will increase.
In many states, including Texas, the person accused of assault and battery could face years in jail and expensive fines, even if it is only their first offense. If you are facing assault and battery charges, it is crucial to have a skilled attorney who will investigate the details of your case and fight fiercely to defend your legal rights. Contact our law firm today to learn how we can assist you in your defense against these potentially life-changing allegations.
How Does Texas Law Regarding Assault and Battery Differ From Some Other States?
Many states treat assault and battery as two separate crimes. In those states, assault occurs when an individual threatens another person with bodily harm. If physical contact is initiated, then the perpetrator of the offensive contact can be charged with battery. Texas charges all of these types of incidents as assault, regardless of whether physical contact occurred. Even verbally threatening another person’s spouse can be enough to warrant an assault charge.
There are several degrees of simple assault charges in Texas, and your specific offense will depend on the circumstances of your case. The lowest violation possible is a Class C Misdemeanor. You could be charged with this crime if you threaten to harm someone or make physical contact with them offensively or provocatively but do not cause injury.
Felony assault charges can come into play if you assault a member of a protected class, such as a police officer, firefighter, judge, paramedic, or social worker. Assault against your romantic partner or a family member is also a felony. Choking an individual is a serious crime that will result in felony assault charges as well.
What Are Aggravating Factors?
The court will also look for aggravating factors in your assault. These are situations that make the assault more severe than normal. If accused of aggravated assault, you could be charged with a first-degree felony. Examples of aggravating factors include:
- Inflicting serious injuries upon an individual.
- Using a deadly weapon, such as a gun, during the assault.
- Assaulting someone during the commission of another crime, including robbery.
- Raping or sexually assaulting an individual (although this may be charged as a separate crime).
What Are Common Penalties for First-Time Assault and Battery Charges in Texas?
If you are convicted of a first-time assault, the penalties imposed by the court will depend greatly on the level of harm done. While individuals can face increased charges if they have prior assault convictions, having no previous offenses does not improve your odds of a lighter sentence. Even first-time convictions can result in significant, life-altering consequences.
Misdemeanor simple assault convictions with no aggravating factors can result in a maximum of one year of jail time and a fine of up to $4,000. The penalties for felony assault increase dramatically:
- Third-degree Felony Assault: Up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Second-degree Felony Assault: Two to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
- First-degree Felony Assault: Five years to life in prison and a fine.
Additionally, a felony conviction can majorly impact your social and professional life, even after serving your time. Your conviction can disrupt your relationships, make it hard to find work, limit your ability to find housing or get financial aid for schooling, and remove your right to own a gun. The stigma of a felony conviction can be challenging to overcome. It can, unfortunately, lead to adverse outcomes if you have further dealings with the court, such as child custody proceedings or a civil case related to the assault.
What Should I Do if I’m Charged with Assault and Battery?
If you or your family member are facing assault and battery charges, you may worry about what the future will hold. Even a first-time assault and battery charge can result in a lengthy jail sentence and costly fines. Trying to navigate the court system on your own when the stakes are this high is incredibly challenging. Contacting a skilled legal professional immediately is highly recommended to give yourself the best possible chance of beating these serious charges.
Your defense attorney can counsel you on how to handle investigations and questioning by law enforcement so you do not accidentally harm your case. They will also thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the alleged assault to determine what actually happened so they can create the strongest defense possible and ensure your rights are protected. Don’t go through this complicated process alone. Reach out to our law firm today for experience and knowledge you can trust in your assault and battery case.
Why Hire Our Attorneys?
Knowing that someone with extensive experience is fighting on your side can make all the difference when you are facing criminal charges. First-time assault and battery charges may lead to devastating sentences that can result in years in prison and a lifelong criminal record that may affect your ability to find employment and seek custody of your children. With so much riding on the outcome of your case, you need attorneys you can rely on for solid legal advice and representation.
Contact Morgan Bourque Attorney at Law today to discuss the details of your assault and battery case and see how our knowledgeable defense attorneys can help you. Call 713-766-3733 to make an appointment for a free consultation.