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Assault Charge In Texas: Misdemeanor Or Felony?

Any time there are allegations of assault, it's a serious matter. However, people often wonder whether assault is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor in Texas. The answer is, "it depends." The Texas Penal Code assigns different levels of severity to different types of assault charges.

Misdemeanor Charges For Assault

"Assault" in Texas means one of the following occurred:

1. Someone caused bodily injury to another person (including their spouse), intentionally, knowingly or recklessly;

2. Someone intentionally or knowingly threatened another person (including their spouse) with imminent bodily injury; or

3. Someone intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with someone else when they knew, or should have reasonably known that the other person would find the contact offensive.

Generally, a simple assault that meets one of these three tests would be considered a misdemeanor. Depending on the circumstances, a misdemeanor charge for assault can be Class A, Class B or Class C.

Statistics released by the Texas Judicial Branch shows that of all misdemeanor charges filed in Texas in 2015, 11% were assault charges.

Felony Charges For Assault

An assault will carry felony charges with it under certain circumstances, including when:

1. You knew the victim was a public servant, government contractor, contractor's employee, security guard or emergency services worker and was working in that capacity at the time of the assault; or

2. You retaliated against a public servant, government contractor or contractor's employee in retaliation for doing their job; or

3. You have a previous conviction for domestic violence and the alleged assault involved a spouse, significant other or family member.

Assault can rise to the level of "Aggravated Assault" if you used or exhibited a deadly weapon in the course of committing an assault.

Depending on the circumstances and severity, assault can be either a first-degree, second-degree or third-degree felony.

Regardless of whether assault charges receive misdemeanor or felony treatment, there is no question that they should be taken seriously. If you or someone you love was charged with assault, talking to an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who knows how the Texas courts work is the first step in protecting your rights.

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