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What factors might influence the level of assault charge I face?

Everyone has those moments when their emotions get the better of them. Altercations may result. Whether you get charged with assault or battery depends on a lot of things and the level of the charges that are brought can depend on the circumstances of the fracas and the amount of harm the victim may have suffered.

Because there are so many possible variables and because authorities are often inclined to believe the victim’s version of events over anything a defendant might say, it’s imperative to have the help of an experienced defense attorney.

In Texas, cases of alleged assault and battery are treated very much the same. Prosecutors have the burden of proving that one of three elements was on display. They have to be able to show either that the defendant knowingly and intended to harm the victim; that the defendant knowingly and intentionally made a threat of physical harm against the victim; or that the defendant knew or should have known that any intended physical contact would be perceived as a provocation or offensive.

If prosecutors believe they can make the case that a deadly weapon was used in the crime or if the victim suffered serious bodily injury, a charge of aggravated assault could be leveled.

Other things that can influence authorities to elevate a charge from misdemeanor to felony can include whether the victim was closely related to the defendant; whether the defendant has a history of convictions for similar crimes; and whether the attack involved strangulation or suffocation.

If you’re charged with a Class C misdemeanor and convicted, the penalty could be a fine of up to $500. If you’re convicted of a second-degree felony count, you could face from two to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. A first-degree assault conviction could yield a prison term of from five to 99 years.

Clearly the consequences, regardless of the charge, are such that the rights of the accused deserve vigorous protection.