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Some general information about the crime of assault in Texas

Perhaps you or a person you know are facing assault charges. One of the first things you will want to do is familiarize yourself with the elements of the crime of assault. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed all of the elements of assault before a defendant can be convicted of it.

In order to be convicted of assault under Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, the prosecution must prove one of the following three things:

  • The accused either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to the victim;
  • The accused either intentionally or knowingly threatened the victim with imminent bodily injury; or
  • The accused either intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with the victim under circumstances when the accused either knew or should have reasonably believed that the victim would regard the contact as provocative or offensive.

The prosecution may charge the defendant with aggravated assault instead of assault. In order to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecution must prove all of the elements of assault, and that a deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the assault, or that the accused caused serious bodily injury to the victim as a result of the assault.

Depending on the circumstances, assault can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a second degree felony. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500; a second degree felony is punishable by two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated assault is either a second degree or first degree felony, depending on the circumstances. A first degree felony is punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

A conviction for an assault offense, especially a felony, can have major implications for the remainder of the convicted person’s life. A Texas criminal defense attorney can provide more information and guidance on how to defend against these kinds of serious charges