While most people know that physical assault can lead to criminal charges, some may be surprised to learn that verbal threats can result in criminal penalties under certain circumstances. As long as the alleged victim insists that your threatening words caused them to fear for their physical safety, law enforcement may place you under arrest for an assaultive offense. However, this type of assault can be difficult to prove, so working with a skilled Pearland criminal defense lawyer can increase your chances of having these charges dismissed. Here are some strategies for fighting verbal assault charges in the South Houston area.
How Texas Defines Verbal Assault
Under Title 5, 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.” This broad definition leaves room for an alleged victim to claim you verbally assaulted them, even if you had no intention of causing them harm. The key phrase here is “imminent bodily injury,” so prosecutors must show that you knowingly and intentionally said these words to inflict fear of bodily harm on another person.
Defense Strategies For Verbal Assault Offenses
One of the strongest ways you can dispute a verbal assault charge is to show that the alleged victim misinterpreted your actions. For instance, you may have been in the middle of a competitive game when you expressed your frustration (i.e., “I’m gonna slaughter you next time!”). Providing this context can help to illustrate that your words were not meant as a serious threat of bodily injury. Your attorney can assess the details of your situation and determine the best course of action aimed at securing you a favorable outcome.
How a Trusted Pearland Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you’re charged with verbal assault, you may be tempted to plead guilty and move on with your life. After all, most verbal assault charges are considered Class C misdemeanors, carrying a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. This might not seem like much, but remember that the conviction will appear on your record and impact your life in negative ways. Instead, enlist the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can employ any number of legal strategies to obtain you the best possible outcome. Don’t let this one incident define your future—contact a criminal defense lawyer today.
Questions about assaultive offenses and penalties in Pearland or South Houston? Call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC today at (832) 230-0075 to arrange a free consultation with a dedicated attorney.