Facing criminal charges of any kind can be stressful, especially when you aren’t familiar with the Texas criminal justice system. You may have some vague ideas about your right to remain silent or your right to an attorney. Even if you’ve interacted with the criminal justice system in the past, you’ll likely have questions about how these new charges may affect your future. Let’s take a look at some common questions people have about assaultive offenses so that, should you find yourself in this unfortunate position, you’ll have some idea about what to expect from the process.
Is Assault Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony in Texas?
Assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific circumstances of the alleged incident. Most simple assault cases are charged as Class A misdemeanors, carrying a jail sentence of up to one year and a $4,000 fine. However, an assault charge can elevate to a third-degree felony offense if the alleged victim is a public servant or if you have a history of domestic violence. Incidents involving a weapon can be charged as aggravated assault, a second-degree or first-degree felony offense. Felony offenses carry much harsher penalties than misdemeanors, including lengthy prison sentences, steep fines, and other limitations to your freedom.
Can I Still Be Charged With Assault if the Victim Wasn’t Injured?
It’s common to assume that assault crimes pertain to incidents of physical harm. However, Texas law states that assault occurs even if someone “intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury.” This means that you can still face assault charges for verbally threatening someone. Most assaultive offenses that don’t result in actual bodily harm are considered Class C misdemeanors, but the charges can escalate if a weapon is involved or the alleged victim is an elderly or disabled individual.
What Do I Do If I’m Charged With Assault?
As stressful as this time can be, it’s essential that you remain composed and exercise your right to remain silent. Even if law enforcement tries to get you to tell “your side of the story,” remember that they can use anything you say against you in the future. Instead, contact a trusted criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your options for navigating these charges. The sooner you enlist the guidance of an experienced lawyer, the more time you’ll have to develop an effective legal strategy aimed at securing you the best possible outcome.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Pearland, Brazoria County, or the surrounding area, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC at (832) 230-0075 today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney.