People use the terms “assault” and “battery” together because at one time, these offenses were very closely related. However, under modern criminal statutes in Texas, the word battery is no longer relevant. Statutes apply the word assault to a large number of actions that once would have been referred to as battery. There are many different degrees of assault offenses.
Meanwhile, the term battery is used only in civil law. An individual can sue someone for battery and recover compensation, but if the police make an arrest in connection with the incident, that person would probably be charged with some form of criminal assault.
Defining Assault in Texas
The legal definition of assault goes beyond what most people might expect. It occurs not only in situations where one person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another. Under Texas law, you can be convicted of assault for threatening someone with imminent bodily harm even if you haven’t physically touched them. If you intentionally or knowingly make a threat that causes them to believe they or someone else are in danger of imminent physical injury, that is a criminal assault under Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code.
Moreover, intentional physical contact that someone finds offensive or provocative can also constitute an assault. This could include acts that may seem minor but are unwelcome, like an aggressive shove or an intimidating touch or even spitting on someone. The bottom line is that while the most serious assault charges often involve severe physical injury, you can be convicted of assault for conduct that causes no physical injuries whatsoever.
Assault Can Be a Misdemeanor or a Felony
The factors involved in the case determine whether an assault is treated as a misdemeanor or a serious felony. For instance, when the act alleged involves a member of the family or domestic relationship, the crime is treated as a third degree felony rather than a Class A misdemeanor. The crime is also considered more serious if it involves an act allegedly committed against a police officer or other specified individuals acting as public servants.
If a deadly weapon is involved or the incident results in a serious bodily injury, then the assault is treated even more seriously as aggravated assault, a second or third degree felony. Every detail matters in an assault case, and that is why our team works so hard to collect and present evidence to support your defense.
Potential Consequences for Assault
When assault is treated as a Class A misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to a year of imprisonment and fined up to $4,000. If there are no injuries, it is possible an assault could be charged as a Class C misdemeanor which is not penalized by jail time. However, a conviction for any form of assault becomes publicly visible on your record to potential employers, landlords, and friends, so it is important to defend yourself even if the charge seems minor.
Conviction for felony assault carries a minimum sentence of two years of imprisonment, with a maximum of 10 years for a third degree felony, 20 years for a second degree felony, and 99 years for a first degree felony.
How Barbieri Law Firm Can Help
Being charged with assault is a serious matter, and you deserve to have the best defense strategy to protect your future. At Barbieri Law Firm, we are ready to fight on your behalf to achieve the best outcome. Call Barbieri Law Firm today at 972-424-1902 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our Plano criminal defense attorneys. The sooner you contact our team, the sooner we can start protecting your rights and building your defense.