In Texas, being charged with assault can be a nerve-racking experience because, depending upon the facts of your case, you may be charged with anywhere from a simple Class C Misdemeanor (comparable to traffic citations) all the way up to a 1st Degree Felony.
Definition of Assault in Collin County, Texas
In Texas, a person commits an assault if the person:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
- intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
- intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Because the majority of assault charges in Texas stem from a dispute involving a family member, most assault cases are charged as a Class A Misdemeanor family violence assault where the State must prove some pain or discomfort occurred. In many cases, the police may arrest you with very little evidence of an actual assault having been committed if they feel that you are being threatening or difficult because they were not present when the dispute occurred, and it will often be one person’s word against the other. However, just because you have been arrested for assault does not mean that you have committed a crime. Assault cases can be very difficult for the State to prove, and you should seriously consider fighting the charges against you in an effort to keep your criminal record clean.
Class C Misdemeanor Assault and “Affirmative Finding”
Often times, the State will will drop a Class A Misdemeanor assault charge down to a lower level Class C Misdemeanor assault, where the district attorney must only prove that some unwelcome, offensive, or provocative contact occurred. Many people who are charged with this type of assault fail to appreciate the severity of the of charge against them because they do not face spending any time in jail. However, the fact that you are only charged with a Class C Misdemeanor does not diminish the severity of the potential consequences that may result from an assault conviction.
If you are charged with a Class C Misdemeanor assault and the alleged victim was a family member, the State may add an enhancement to your Class C Misdemeanor assault charge referred to as “an affirmative finding of family violence.” Should the State seek an “affirmative finding” against you, this finding can be used to enhance any future charges of assault that you may face all the way up to a felony level.
Felony Aggravated Assault
In Texas, aggravated assault occurs when a person commits an assault and:
- the person causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; or
- uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
Aggravated assault is commonly referred to as assault with a deadly weapon and is a 2nd Degree Felony that carries with it a prison term ranging anywhere from 2 to 20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. In some instances where the person utilizes a deadly weapon during the assault and causes bodily injury to a family member or someone who they are in a dating relationship with, the aggravated assault charge can rise to the level of a 1st Degree Felony which carries a prison term ranging anywhere from 5 to 99 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Will the State Dismiss the Assault Charge if the Victim Does Not Want Me Prosecuted?
Many times, especially in cases stemming from family violence, even though the victim of an assault will not wish to pursue criminal charges against you, the State will still decide to prosecute you because a criminal assault is a proceeding between the State of Texas and the person being charged. The victim is merely a witness for the State, and the decision to pursue charges against you rests solely with the district attorney.
Defending Assault/Family Violence in Collin County, Texas
Assault, especially where a family member is involved, is a very serious matter that can result in severe consequences and penalties. Mark O’Bryan will ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in disposing of your assault charge by aggressively working to get the charge dismissed or reduced, making sure that no evidence used against you was obtained illegally, and cross-examining the police, involved parties, and other witnesses to draw out any inconsistencies in their testimony.