In the heat of an argument, we may say things we don’t mean. Making verbal threats is often just a way of venting frustration, rage, or other intense emotions. However, the person you threaten may take legal action and claim that you were assaulting them. This means that you could face criminal charges for verbal threats, which are considered a form of assault under certain circumstances. Here’s what you should know about verbal assault charges in Texas and what steps to take if you have been arrested.
What the Texas Assault Laws Say
According to title five, section 22.01 of the Texas penal code, assault occurs when a person “intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse.” There are other definitions of assault that involve physical harm or unwanted physical contact, but the above definition makes it clear that a threat itself can be considered an assaultive act. Non-physical forms of threat can be verbal, such as stating your intention to cause physical harm, or non-verbal, such as gesturing acts of violence. Threats can be made in person, in writing, over the phone, or electronically.
Possible Consequences of an Assault Conviction in Texas
Even if you never actually caused physical harm to another person, you could still be convicted of an assaultive offense. Most verbal threats are considered class C misdemeanors, which carry a fine of up to $500. While this may not seem to be as serious as other criminal offenses, your criminal record will still be impacted. Even if you are tempted to simply pay the fine and move on, it’s best to talk to a skilled criminal defense attorney to make sure you understand both the short-term and long-term consequences of your decision.
Each Case is Unique, So Seek Legal Counsel
It’s important to remember that every situation is different. While you may feel paralyzed or tempted to simply plead guilty and pay the fine, your future is worth more than a hasty decision. Instead, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your case. Your attorney can determine the best course of action to ensure that you can obtain the best possible outcome.
Call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC today at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pearland and South Houston criminal defense lawyer.