Defending Against Assault Charges In Texas

In Texas, assault charges can range in severity, but even when the offense is classified as a misdemeanor, it remains a serious crime with negative consequences that can impact your life for years to come. It is important to take the right steps to protect your rights and your future.

At Barbieri Law Firm, P.C., our team understands how to defend against assault charges of all types. We fight relentlessly, exploring every avenue of defense. Heather Barbieri has not lost an assault trial by jury in 20 years. She leads a team staffed with former prosecutors who understand exactly how to deconstruct the case against you so that you can walk away with a positive outcome. Facing assault charges puts you in a difficult position, but our team will stand strong with you every step of the way.

Assault Can Be a Misdemeanor or Felony Depending on Circumstances

The circumstances involved determine whether an assault is treated as a Class A misdemeanor, third-degree felony, or second-degree felony. Even without aggravating circumstances, if you are convicted of assault, you can be imprisoned for up to a year and required to pay a fine of up to $4,000. A conviction for this type of violent offense can interfere with options for employment, housing, and other aspects of your life far into the future.

When an assault is classified as a felony in the third degree, there is a minimum term of imprisonment of two years and a maximum sentence of ten years, along with the potential for a fine of up to $10,000. The maximum penalties are doubled when the offense is treated as a felony in the second degree.

Understanding Assault

Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code describes three types of actions that can constitute the crime of assault:

  • Causing bodily injury to another person either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
  • Threatening another person with imminent bodily injury either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact that is known or should be known to be regarded as offensive or provocative

Under this definition, you can be found guilty of assault even if you have not hurt someone. If you threatened them or made contact in a way that offended them, then that is considered an assault.

Assault as Family Violence

Causing injury or threatening bodily harm to a spouse is considered a form of assault. That assault can be penalized as a third-degree felony if it is committed against someone who you are in a domestic relationship with including someone you have dated, someone you live with, relatives by blood or marriage, or someone you have had a child with. Assault against someone in a domestic relationship is a felony if it involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly putting pressure on their neck or blocking their nose and mouth in a way that restricts that person’s breathing or circulation.

In other words, an attempt to choke, suffocate or strangle someone in a family, dating, or household relationship can be prosecuted as a third-degree felony. If you have a prior conviction for similar family violence, that could also cause an assault to be treated as a felony.

Assault Against a Public Servant, Peace Officer, or Judge

When an assault is committed against a public servant while they are lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation for exercising their official power or performing an official duty, then that assault offense is classified as a third-degree felony.  This category of public servants includes:

  • Government contractors who work in a correctional facilities
  • Security officers on duty
  • Emergency services personnel
  • Process servers
  • Hospital personnel

An assault is treated even more seriously when it is committed against a peace officer or judge while they are lawfully discharging a duty or in retaliation for exercising official powers or performing duties. It becomes a second-degree felony in these situations.

Assault Against Someone Who is Pregnant

When an assault is committed against someone known to be pregnant or committed in an effort to force someone to have an abortion, the offense escalates to a third-degree felony. If the assault causes the termination of the pregnancy, there is the potential for a capital murder charge.

Going Through Your Defense in Texas

Facing assault charges in Texas requires a strategic defense approach. Here’s how we approach such cases at Barbieri Law Firm, P.C.:

  • Evidence Review and Analysis: Every detail matters. We meticulously review the evidence, looking for inconsistencies or areas where your rights may have been violated.
  • Expert Witnesses: In cases involving alleged strangulation or suffocation, medical experts can provide critical insights into the evidence. We work with respected professionals to challenge the prosecution’s narrative.
  • Legal Defenses: Texas law provides several potential defenses to assault charges, from self-defense to lack of intent. We explore all avenues to build a robust defense strategy tailored to your case.

Contact an Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Team

If you’re facing assault charges in Texas, particularly those involving strangulation, suffocation, or actions committed against a public servant, pregnant woman, peace officer, or judge, it’s essential to seek experienced legal guidance immediately. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the right defense can make all the difference.

To discuss your case and explore your legal options, contact Barbieri Law Firm today at 972-424-1902 or online. Our team is ready to stand by your side, offering the experienced, compassionate defense you deserve. Don’t navigate this challenging time alone–let us help you fight for the best possible outcome.