Assault crimes in Texas carry weighty penalties, especially if the alleged victim is a public servant. While most simple assaultive offenses are considered Class A misdemeanors, assault against a public servant can be prosecuted as a third-degree felony. If you or a loved one has been charged with assaulting a public servant or police officer, you need reliable and effective legal representation right away. Here are a few things you should know about assault crimes involving public servants in the Pearland and Houston area.
How Texas Defines Assault
Under title 5, section 22.01 of the Texas penal code, a person commits assault if they “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse.” A person may also be charged with assault if they “intentionally or knowingly threaten another with imminent bodily injury,” even if no actual physical contact is made. In most instances, these offenses are considered Class A misdemeanors, which carry a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
Assault on a Public Servant
When the alleged offense is committed against a public servant, the crime is elevated to a third-degree felony. If convicted of a third-degree felony, which carries a 2 to 10-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines, among other long-term consequences. The law states that this offense occurs when an assault is committed against “a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant.” Public servants include police officers, judges, jurors, attorneys, arbitrators, political candidates, elected officials, and government employees. It’s important to note that a key component of charging someone with assault on a public servant is proving that the actor knew the victim was a public servant.
Next Steps For Navigating Assault Charges in South Houston
Incidents involving public servants, especially police officers and other members of law enforcement, can be complex. In many instances, a police officer may mistreat you or handle you too roughly, so you push back to defend yourself. Even small actions may lead to serious assault charges, so it’s essential that you enlist the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend your rights. Remember, you don’t have to go through this difficult time on your own; your attorney will work closely with you to ensure that you secure the best possible outcome given the specifics of the case.
Facing assault charges in Pearland or the surrounding area? Contact the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC today by calling (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and trusted criminal defense lawyer.