Being a victim of assault is a traumatic experience, and filing an assault charge can be an intimidating process. But understanding the laws surrounding assault charges in Texas and knowing how to file an assault charge can make all the difference for victims seeking justice.
If you or someone you know has been or might soon be a victim of assault, please contact the authorities. This article is not intended to be used in emergency situations.
This article will provide information on how to file an assault charge, what evidence needs to be gathered, possible legal outcomes of filing a charge, and resources available for those who have experienced assault in Texas. With this knowledge and support system in place, it may become easier to take action against perpetrators of assaults.
How to File an Assault Charge in Texas
If you have been the victim of assault, it is important to take action and file a police report as soon as possible. When filing a police report, provide as much detail as possible regarding the incident. This includes the location, date and time of the assault, as well as a description of any evidence you have that may support your claim.
Once the police report is filed, it will be sent to the local district attorney’s office for review and possible prosecution. The district attorney will then determine whether a criminal charge should be filed against the alleged perpetrator.
It is important to remember that filing an assault charge in Texas is not a guarantee of prosecution, as there must be sufficient evidence to support your claim. Additionally, the district attorney reserves the right to refuse to file charges if they determine that proceeding with a criminal case is not necessary or justifiable.
What is Assault?
In Texas, assault is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. It does not require physical contact; threatening someone with imminent harm can be considered assault.
An assault charge carries either misdemeanor or felony penalties and punishments, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the charge.
Criminal attorneys serving Addison, Andrews, Argyle, Bedford, Carrollton, Colleyville, Coppell, Crane, Dallas, Denton, Euless, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garden City, Gardendale, Goldsmith, Grandfalls, Grapevine, Hurst, Irving, Justin, Keller, Kermit, Lake Dallas, Lenorah, Lewisville, Little Elm, Mc Camey, Midkiff, Midland, Monahans, North Richland Hills, Notrees, Odessa, Plano, Rankin, Roanoke, Southlake, Stanton, Tarzan, The Colony, Wickett, and Wink.
As with many crimes, there are different levels of assault charges in Texas. It’s important to understand the requirements and punishments for each category of assault.
Class C Misdemeanor Assault
Assaults that do not cause physical harm or injury are considered a Class C misdemeanor. These include actions such as issuing a threat of imminent physical harm, or physically touching the victim in a way that is offensive or provocative.
A $500 fine is the highest possible penalty for a Class C misdemeanor.
Class B Misdemeanor Assault
Physically provoking or threatening a sports participant, regardless of the level of competition (collegiate, amateur, or professional), as a non-sports participant is considered a Class B misdemeanor. This refers to individuals involved in sports such as athletes, referees, umpires, coaches, instructors, administrators, or staff members.
This law was created to address these types of crimes that are committed during a sporting event or if the perpetrator attacks an athlete in retaliation for his or her performance.
The “sports fan” clause provides protection for athletes against unruly spectators, who may become disappointed or angry during sporting events, as well as from gamblers who may have lost their potential winnings.
A Class B misdemeanor can result in a maximum punishment of 6 months in prison and a $2,000 fine.
Class A Misdemeanor Assault
Any assault that causes physical harm is considered a Class A misdemeanor charge at minimum. If someone is accused of physically attacking or verbally insulting an elderly person or a disabled individual, which is typically considered a Class C assault, they will also face a Class A misdemeanor charge.
A Class A misdemeanor can result in a fine of up to $4,000 and a prison sentence of up to 1 year as the maximum penalty.
Third-Degree Felony Assault
Intentionally or knowingly causing physical harm to another person is a Class A misdemeanor. However, if the harm is directed toward specific parties, it becomes a felony charge. An act of physical harm against a family member, dating partner, or roommate can escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony. If someone has past convictions of assaulting a partner they dated, family members, or those living in the same household, regardless of the state in which this occurred, they may face charges for third-degree felony assault.
The Differences Between Simple & Aggravated Assault
So far, we’ve discussed assault charges that fall under the category of “simple assault.” In these instances, simple assault requires the intentional, knowing, or reckless harm of another person by means of issuing a threat, using knowingly offensive physical contact, or the reckless harm of another person physically.
It should be noted that the penalties for simple assault charges are much lighter than the penalties for aggravated assault charges.
Aggravated assault involves the same actions as simple assault, with the primary difference being that the actions result in serious bodily harm or involve the display or use of a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault is always charged as a minimum of a second-degree felony. The degree of the felony can be determined by the victim of the crime, as with simple assault.
Second-Degree Felony Assault
An aggravated assault charge is classified as a second-degree felony. Please note that the category also covers Class C misdemeanors that involve the use of a deadly weapon, such as threats or physical provocation.
A second-degree felony can result in a maximum punishment of 2-20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
First-Degree Felony Assault
This charge is the level of felony assault with the highest possible severity in Texas and is the second-highest level of charge, excluding capital offenses. Aggravated assault is considered a first-degree felony when it’s committed against family members, dating partners, or household residents, similar to simple assault. It may also qualify as a felony if the accused has a history of assault.
Can I Drop an Assault Charge?
Under the Texas Penal Code, a victim or witness of an assault charge is able to drop the charges. However, in some cases, the court may decide to move forward with prosecution despite the fact that the victim does not want to pursue the case. The decision about whether to move forward with prosecution can be made by either a district attorney or the state’s attorney general.
Seeking Legal Assistance & Resources for Victims
Filing an assault charge is not easy, but it’s important to understand the laws surrounding assault charges in Texas. It is essential that victims of assault understand their rights and pursue legal action when necessary.
Victims of assault should seek the assistance of the qualified, award-winning Jimenez Law Firm attorneys to make sure that their rights are protected, and all necessary evidence is presented in court. Additionally, victims may contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline or the Texas Council on Family Violence for additional resources and support. By understanding the consequences of filing an assault charge, knowing the evidence necessary to support the charges, and seeking legal assistance, victims of assault can pursue justice in Texas.