How Is An Assault Defined In Texas?
Texas defines an assault as the intentional, knowing, or reckless causing of bodily injury, generally. There are some what are called minor assaults that are for offensive touching, or assault by threat, but the assault that you normally hear about is the intentional, knowing, and reckless causing of bodily injuries. Bodily injury is simply defined as pain. Therefore, if you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused pain to somebody else, theoretically you caused an assault in Texas.
Does An Alleged Victim Need To Be Injured For Assault Charges To Be Pressed In Texas?
When you ask the question, does a victim need to be injured for assault to have occurred, it depends on what type of assault you are discussing. Texas has two Class C misdemeanor assaults. Assault by threat, where there is no injury required, or what we call assault by offensive contact, or offensive touching. The person did not like it, but no pain was caused, and there was no bodily injury involved either. In those cases, no, there does not have to be an injury. For a Class A misdemeanor assault, the state is required to prove bodily injury which means pain.
The same thing for aggravated assault, however if you take one of those Class A assaults where you threaten somebody, and you add a weapon into the mix, or you display a weapon and threaten somebody, at that point, even though there are no injuries, this becomes an aggravated assault, and a felony in Texas.
What Is Aggravated Assault?
An aggravated assault in Texas is where you have an assault that has caused bodily injury to somebody, and a deadly weapon was used, or exhibited. The other type of aggravated assault in Texas is where you have an assault by threat, no injury occurred, but a threat with a deadly weapon was used, or exhibited. The third and final type of aggravated assault under Texas law is where you have an assault, but instead of receiving bodily injury, or pain, serious bodily injuries occur. Serious bodily injury means death or injury that is capable of causing death, long-term impairment, or protracted loss of bodily functions, for example, loss of limb, or paralysis.
What Is Assault With A Deadly Weapon? What Items Are Considered As Deadly Weapons?
An assault with a deadly weapon is an aggravated assault in Texas. If you injure, or threaten someone, and a weapon is used, that is an aggravated assault. As far as what items are considered as deadly weapons, any item that is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury under Texas law. Obviously, firearms are included, and that is the only specific thing listed in the penal code. Beyond that, it goes on to say that anything capable of causing death, or serious bodily injury in the manner that it is used, or intended to be used.
So a BB gun, knife, baseball bat, club, or any other type of hard object, hands, feet, anything else that you can think of that you can use in a manner to hurt somebody, or cause their death is a deadly weapon under Texas law.
What Are The Potential Sentences For An Assault Conviction In Texas?
Assaults in Texas are broken down into different categories. You have the Class C assault, which is punishable by only a fine of up to $500. That is where no injuries are sustained, but a threat is made, or there is contact that the other person finds offensive, but they are not hurt. You have bodily injury assaults, where the other person is injured. That is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year of confinement in County jail and or a fine of up to $4000. If that is committed against a family member, or you are convicted of another one against a family member, they can push that second one into a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to two to ten years’ confinement in the penitentiary, and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
If you have an aggravated assault where somebody is hurt seriously, or if there is, a deadly weapon used or exhibited, then it becomes a second-degree felony. This is punishable between two to twenty years’ confinement in the penitentiary with an optional fine of up to $10,000. Any of these incarcerations and or fines might be more significant, depending on certain factors. Usually, they have to do with the status of the victim. For instance, if you assault a child, an elderly individual, or a public servant, like a police officer, that can raise the level of punishment, and make it a Class A misdemeanor assault into a third, or a second degree into a first degree crime.
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