Were you arrested and charged with assault in Dallas? If so, make sure that the Law Office of RJ Harber is the first call that you make. As a former prosecuting attorney, RJ Harber has seen assault cases from both sides, and he will use his knowledge and skill to get the best possible outcome for you.
Law enforcement and the courts take assault and other violent crimes very seriously in Texas. Don’t trust your case to an inexperienced or apathetic lawyer. Turn to a lawyer who understands the approach the prosecution will take, and who knows how to negotiate or fight to get the charges against you reduced or dropped.
An assault crime in Texas includes provisions that are similar to battery offenses in most other states. In Texas, a person can be charged with assault not only for harmful physical contact with another person, but they also commit this offense if they even threaten another person with bodily harm.
An assault conviction can carry serious consequences. In addition to possible jail or prison time and large fines, having an assault on your criminal record could have a lasting impact on your life, affecting employment opportunities, housing options, and many other issues when a background check is performed.
If you were arrested for an alleged assault in the Greater Dallas area, try not to say anything to authorities until you have legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of RJ Harber as soon as possible.
RJ Harber has over a decade of experience and understands the most effective ways of challenging these cases because of his prior role as a prosecutor in Tarrant County. Call (214) 389-1189 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your rights today.
Assault Charges in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a), a person commits the Class A misdemeanor of assault when they:
- Cause bodily injury to another person, including their spouse
- Threaten another person with imminent bodily injury, including their spouse
- Cause physical contact with another person when the alleged offender knows or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
The offense is elevated to a third-degree felony when the alleged assault is committed against any of the following:
- A public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty
- A family member, a household member, or a dating partner if the alleged offender has been previously convicted of an offense against a person whose relationship to or association fit into that category)
- A person who contracts with government to perform a service in a facility or an employee of that person while the person or employee is engaged in performing a service within the scope of the contract (or in retaliation for or on account of the person’s or employee’s performance of a service within the scope of the contract)
- A security officer
- An emergency services personnel (while that person is providing emergency services)
- A pregnant individual to force them to have an abortion
Third-degree felony charges also apply if the alleged offender was committed to a civil commitment facility and the offense was committed against an officer or an employee of the Texas Civil Commitment Office (or a person who contracts with the state to perform a service in a civil commitment facility or an employee of that person).
Second-degree felony charges apply when an assault is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the alleged offender was either a family member, a household member, or a dating partner (and when the alleged offender has been previously convicted of assault). Second-degree felony assault can also involve choking.
Assault committed against a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge is lawfully discharging an official duty is also a second-degree felony. Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury or causing physical contact with another person that is offensive or provocative is a Class C misdemeanor, but either crime can be enhanced in certain circumstances.
Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person that is offensive or provocative against an elderly individual or disabled individual is a Class A misdemeanor.
A person commits aggravated assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.02 if they commit any assault crime and cause serious bodily injury to another person, including their spouse, or if they use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault. Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony, but the crime becomes a first-degree felony when an alleged offender uses a deadly weapon and causes serious bodily injury to a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant was either a family member, a household member, or a dating partner. Second-degree felony charges also apply when the offense is committed by a public servant acting under color of the servant’s office or employment against a public servant or security officer or when the alleged offender was in a motor vehicle and knowingly discharged a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle without knowing whether it was occupied and caused serious bodily injury in discharging the firearm.
Texas Assault Penalties
The possible sentence a person receives if convicted of an assault crime will depend on how the crime is classified under Texas state law. Generally, Texas criminal penalties are as follows:
- Class C Misdemeanor— A fine of up to $500
- Class B Misdemeanor— Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000
- Class A Misdemeanor— Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000
- Third-Degree Felony— Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony— Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony— Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
Some people may be able to be sentenced to a term of probation instead of imprisonment, but there are strict rules that a person must comply with. Failure to attend regular meetings, maintain a job, and complete community service are some of the violations that can lead to the court imposing the maximum sentence for the original underlying crime.
Frequently Asked Questions About Assault
What does bodily injury mean?
Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) defines bodily injury as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” This broad definition allows a person to be charged with assault for essentially any harm or pain inflicted by the alleged assailant.
What is considered a deadly weapon in Texas?
A deadly weapon is defined under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(17) as being a firearm or any item designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury on someone else. It also could be anything that, when used, could cause death or serious bodily injury.
Can an alleged victim request that the charges be dropped?
No. The district attorney is the only person with the power to make decisions about criminal charges. This makes it quite challenging for many people, especially when the other party specifically requests that no legal action be taken. This happens all the time, when people “cool off” or decide that the incident was not as serious as they initially thought, or any other reason.
Unfortunately, the case could still move forward, despite the objections of the parties involved. The prosecution may believe that they are “protecting” the alleged victim, but this is not always the case. That’s why it is critical to hire an experienced assault defense attorney to discuss your defense as soon as you’ve been arrested and charged.
Contact a Dallas Assault Attorney Today
Were you arrested for an alleged assault in Dallas or a surrounding area of Texas? You should not wait to retain legal counsel.
The Law Offices of RJ Harber defends both residents and visitors arrested for assault in communities throughout the Dallas area. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (214) 389-1189 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.