Defining Assault in Austin, TX

Did you and another person have an altercation? Did a cop charge you with assault in Austin? If this is the case, it's in your best interest to approach the charge seriously—even if you did not instigate the incident. As a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin, Texas, Jason English understands the law, the court system, and the everyday people who find themselves in these stressful situations. Drawing from his many years in this area of law, Jason recognizes the complexities of the events leading up to an assault. He's ready and willing to fight for your rights and freedom. Give him a call today and let him review the facts of your case.

What Is Assault In Austin, TX?

Texas classifies assault as either simple or aggravated.

Simple Assault

Texas Penal Code Ann. § 22.01 defines simple assault as occurring when an individual intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

  1. Causes bodily injury to another individual
  2. Threatens another individual with impending bodily injury, or
  3. Initiates physical contact with another individual knowing (or reasonably should have known) that individual would deem it provocative or offensive

Aggravated Assault

Tex. Penal Code § 22.02 defines aggravated assault as occurring when a person commits simple assault in addition to

  1. Inflicting serious bodily injury to another individual, including a spouse; or
  2. Using or exhibiting a deadly weapon while committing the assault.

What Are The Consequences Of An Assault Conviction In Texas?

In Texas, an individual convicted of either simple or aggravated assault faces severe penalties. The state determines which penalties you will meet by the class or degree of the assault you have been charged with.

Simple Assault

  • Class C Misdemeanor Assault usually occurs when an individual threatens to harm another individual, but that person does not suffer an injury, or an individual makes physical contact with another individual provocatively or offensively. While no jail time is involved, the charged individual could pay a fine of up to $500.
  • Class A Misdemeanor Assault usually occurs when an individual intentionally or knowingly inflicts pain on another individual without consent. The person charged faces jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony Assault usually occurs when the assaulted individual is a public servant, security officer, emergency personnel, or government official. The individual charged faced penalties including incarceration at a prison for two to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony Assault usually occurs when the assaulted individual is an on-duty peace officer or judge, and the allegation includes impeding the victim's airflow. Penalties include two to 20 years' incarceration at a prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition, the court may require you to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution may include reimbursement for medical treatment, counseling, or property damage.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault offenses are usually charged as either a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony. When convicted of either of these charges, you will face severe penalties that significantly impact your life.

  • Second-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault penalties include incarceration at a prison for two to twenty years and a fine up to $10,000.
  • First-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault penalties include incarceration at a prison for five to 99 years and a fine up to $10,000.

Aside from incarceration and fines, you may also be required to pay restitution to the victim. Furthermore, there are significant collateral consequences for your conviction. Felons forfeit their right to vote and to own and possess firearms. Even after you have paid your debt to society, you can expect considerable backlash, including:

  • Admitting to your felony when you apply for a job, and
  • Facing difficulties acquiring loans or other financial assistance, whether for purchasing a home or seeking higher education.

Because there is so much at stake, it is vital to hire an experienced, resourceful assault defense attorney in Austin, Texas, who can put together a comprehensive defense strategy in your favor.

What Defenses Does Texas Allow For Individuals Facing A Charge Of Assault?

Texas law permits your attorney to employ affirmative and general defenses when you have been charged with assault and aggravated assault.

Affirmative Defenses

In an affirmative defense, you confess to the crime but explain that you had a justifiable reason for your actions. Assault cases feature two specific affirmative defenses:

  • Consent, meaning the other person consented to the assault, or you have reason to believe the other person consented. However, there are limitations on consent in an affirmative defense. It requires that:
    1. The conduct did not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury on the other person,
    2. If applicable, the person recognized the conduct as a medical treatment or scientific experiment, and
    3. The conduct had no connection to gang initiation or gang-related criminal activity.
  • Self-defense, meaning you believe your person, your property, or someone else is in imminent danger of harm. However, this defense only succeeds if you did not initiate or provoke the other person in any way.

General Defenses

If, in your case, an affirmative defense does not apply, an experienced assault defense attorney will use evidence and skill to dilute the State's case against you and deny the charges altogether.

Your attorney will consider the facts and circumstances, including how the evidence was obtained and how you were arrested. If any violations of your constitutional rights occurred, your attorney could use that to your advantage by moving the court to suppress evidence flowing from those violations.

Facing An Assault Charge? Retain An Aggressive Texas Assault Lawyer Today

As someone who prosecuted cases like your assault charge for over 15 years, Jason S. English understands the strategies prosecutors employ in domestic violence cases to coerce the accused into pleading guilty. Before you plead guilty to any crime, understand your rights and explore your options for fighting the criminal charges.

When you're dealing with an assault charge, it's not an exaggeration to say that your life depends on retaining an experienced, innovative defense attorney. And Jason English recognizes that your freedom depends on his legal prowess in and outside the courtroom. Contact Jason English today at (512) 454-7548 or online for an initial consultation.