Assault charges in Texas can range from a simple threat or argument, a fistfight or brawl, or a violent attack with a dangerous weapon.
Under Texas law, you can be charged with assault resulting from an incident with no physical contact.
Acts of Assault
An act of assault can be one of three things:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person.
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening someone with bodily injury.
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact in a manner considered offensive or provocative.
For a threat to rise to the level of a criminal assault, the threat has to put the person in reasonable fear of injury.
For the police to arrest you on the spot on an assault charge, they have to actually witness the act. If the police are not there to witness the assault, then they can write you a complaint (citation) or notice to appear in court, or they can seek an arrest warrant from a judge.
The exception to this is with domestic assault or domestic violence accusations, in which case the police in Texas are authorized to arrest you and remove you from the premises.
Texas Simple Assault – Laws & Penalties
A simple assault that results in minor injuries is usually a Class A misdemeanor under Texas law. A class A misdemeanor carries penalties of fines of up to $4000, and up to 1 year in jail.
A simple assault that only involved threatening or touching is usually a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law. A class C misdemeanor carries a penalty of fines of up to $500. However, a threatening assault against an elderly person would be a Class A misdemeanor, or against a sports official/referee/umpire would be a Class B misdemeanor.
Other Assault Penalty Enhancement Factors
A simple assault can become a 3rd degree felony assault if
- it is committed against a public servant or government official.
- it is committed against a security guard or emergency services worker
- it is committed against a family member or person with whom you have a domestic relationship, and you have a previous domestic violence or domestic assault conviction.
A third degree felony offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
Texas Aggravated Assault Laws (Assault with a Weapon)
An assault is considered an aggravated assault if 1) serious injury is caused, or 2) a weapon is used in committing the assault.
Aggravated assault is most often a 2nd degree felony, with possible penalties of 2-20 years in prison, and fines of up to $10,o00.
Aggravated Assault Penalty Enhancement Factors
If you commit an aggravated assault against someone with whom you have a domestic relationship, or against a public official, police officer, emergency worker, security guard, witness, or informant, the charge becomes a 1st degree felony, with penalties of 5 years to life in prison.