Houston Criminal Lawyer – Defending Individuals Charged With Assault
If you have been charged with assault or aggravated assault, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. I am R. Todd Bennett. I am a board-certified criminal defense attorney in Houston. I have been a criminal lawyer in Harris County, Texas, for 18 years. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.
Class A Assault:
Class A assault is an offense whereby it is alleged that the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused “bodily injury” to the complainant. Texas law of assault defines bodily injury simply as “pain.” The prosecutor does not have to prove that bones were broken or blood was present. The prosecutor does not even have to prove the existence of bruises, scratches or red marks; only pain. That is, “It hurt.” Common examples of Class A assaults in Texas are allegations that the defendant slapped the complainant, the defendant pushed the complainant or the defendant pulled the complainant’s hair. Some would say that these allegations seem minor or even trivial. They may seem trivial, unless you are the one accused in criminal court of the crime of Class A assault. The punishment range for a misdemeanor Class A assault includes a jail sentence of up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Aggravated Assault (Serious Bodily Injury):
Aggravated assault with the allegation of serious bodily injury is a 2nd degree felony offense, punishable by up to 20 years in Texas state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Serious bodily injury means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Aggravated Assault (Deadly Weapon):
Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is also a 2nd degree felony offense, punishable by up to 20 years in Texas state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The law says that if a person uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault, that person is guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The issue then becomes, “What is a deadly weapon?” A gun, a knife. Those are certainly deadly weapons. The law says that a deadly weapon is anything that is manifestly designed, made or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. So, what is a deadly weapon? What is not a deadly weapon? Just about anything you can think of can be alleged to be a deadly weapon. Cases have held that baseball bats, sticks and automobiles qualify. My good friend, Mac Secrest, likes to joke that even black pepper can be a deadly weapon.
Defenses to Assault Charges:
Chapters 8 and 9 of the Texas Penal Code deal with justifications and defenses to criminal charges. In addition to those codified in the Texas Penal Code, case law recognizes other defenses. The most common defense in assault cases is self-defense.
Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code provides all of us the right to defend ourselves from another person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force against us. The right of self-defense however is confined to our use of “reasonable force.” That is, the law allows us all to defend ourselves when and to the degree that we reasonably believe force is immediately necessary to protect ourselves from another person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force against us.
I am R. Todd Bennett. I am a board-certified criminal defense lawyer. My office is in downtown Houston, Texas. If you or someone you know has been charged with a Class A assault or aggravated assault, call me. I will be happy to schedule a meeting to discuss the case.