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The Law In Texas And Assault Charges

In Texas, most assault charges have battery charges to go with them. If a defendant has been charged with assault, the allegation is that they have intentionally, and/or recklessly caused bodily hard to another person, threatened to cause bodily harm, or caused physical contact with a victim in order to provoke the victim. Regular, Class "C" assault charges are less serious than aggravated assault charges which either involved the use of a firearm or serious injury.

Because people can be prone to misunderstandings, and these misunderstandings can potentially be physical, it is possible for a person to be somewhat surprised by an assault charge. Sometimes, it may appear that an assault has happened when the whole incident is nothing more than an accident. A good defense attorney assumes nothing when they talk to their client about an assault charge. Instead, they will listen to their client or prospective client explain their side of the story to determine what type of defensive approach to take. The defendant might have struck someone by mistake, such as when they were gesturing or even in their sleep. They might not have known they were causing harm or saying something that would provoke action by the alleged victim. They may have acted out of insanity, or due to involuntary intoxication, such being served drugs or alcohol without their knowledge or consent. In many cases, the defendant is actually a victim, and is only acting out physically in an attempt to protect themselves. Also, in Texas, physical squabbles between young children are normally not to be considered assault.

The Seriousness of the Charge and Potential Penalties

The charge of "assault" in Texas casts a fairly large net. A minor assault where no weapon is involved in considered a Class C misdemeanor violation and the penalty might be as light as a $500 fine, however if there are major injuries sustained, the assault could be categorized as 2nd degree felony which could potentially lead to a fine as high as $10,000 and up to 20 years in jail. Judges choose penalties largely based on the defendant's criminal history, their relationship to the victim, and whether the assault included any attempt at strangulation or suffocation.

If a gun is used in an assault, the charges are automatically escalated. In addition to this, the assault is generally considered a more serious crime when the victim is blood related or in a dating relationship, the victim or defendant is a public servant on duty, other defendant is a security officer acting in their job.

Depending on how serious an assault charge is, the actual impact on a person's life if they are convicted can carry a lot more weight. If the charge is considered a felony it will affect their ability to vote or own a fire arm. Even if it is a misdemeanor, the charge stays on that person's record and may make it more difficult to take advantage of employment opportunities. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a smart move, because their experience can help you confront the charges and pursue the best possible plea for your situation.

Source: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/texas-law/texas-assault-and-battery-laws.html

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