Most states, including Texas, differentiate between an assault charge and an aggravated assault charge. In general, aggravated assault is considered the more serious charge, but both offenses can result in significant and lasting consequences. If you or a loved one is currently facing an assault charge, you are likely worried about how this will affect your freedom and your future. Here’s a brief overview of the difference between assault and aggravated assault charges in Texas and what you can expect from the upcoming legal process.
Defining “Assault” in Texas
According to Texas Penal Code 22.01, a person commits assault if they: (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person; (2) intentionally or knowingly threaten another with imminent bodily harm; or (3) intentionally or knowingly cause unwanted or offensive bodily contact with another person. Usually, an assault causing bodily injury is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or fines of up to $4,000. However, under some circumstances, the offense can be raised to a felony with the possibility of a prison sentence and up to a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Assault Carries Weightier Penalties
In some cases, an assault charge can be elevated to a charge of aggravated assault, which carries more significant consequences if a conviction occurs. An assault may become an aggravated assault if the injuries caused to the other person are considered serious, and/or if the perpetrator uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the assault. Examples of serious injuries include broken or fractured bones, scarring, disfigurement, or other long-term injuries. While the most common types of deadly weapons are guns and knives, other objects can be considered to be “deadly,” such as baseball bats, golf clubs, rocks, and more. Depending on the specifics of the incident and your relationship to the alleged victim(s), the aggravated assault may be charged as either a second or first-degree felony, which carry lengthy prison sentences, steep fines, and other significant limitations to your future.
Seek Trusted Legal Guidance Right Away
Whether you are facing an assault or aggravated assault charge, it’s essential that you speak to a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options. Working with an attorney will remind you that you are not alone during this difficult time, and you’ll be able to trust that your lawyer will do everything they can to help you obtain the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC are committed to providing effective and reliable legal representation to clients throughout the Pearland and League City areas. Call (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney today.