What is an Assault Charge?
The state of Texas takes assault charges seriously. If you have been in an altercation that resulted in police intervention, you may find yourself with an assault charge, even if the other party doesn’t choose to press charges against you. Assault charges usually have additional charges that accompany them, such as battery. What exactly is an assault charge?
In the United States, assault is defined as any intentional act that causes another person to fear an attack or imminent harm. You’ll notice that physical harm does not have to happen in order for an assault to occur. Simply threatening someone can land you with an assault charge.
Texas defines assault as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person. Threatening someone with bodily injury is also assault. Finally, intentionally causing physical contact with another person when that person will regard that action as offensive or provocative is recognized as assault in Texas.
Different Assault Charges and Their Meanings
So, now that we have a basic understanding of how the government defines assault, we can delve deeper into understanding the various forms of assault charges.
The three common assault charges include assault, assault and battery, and aggravated assault. Each is their own charge, but assault charges usually accompany other charges.
If an assault results in a serious injury or if a weapon was used during an assault, it is instantly recognized as an aggravated assault, which carries harsher penalties.
Assault and battery are actually two separate crimes. Physical contact is not necessary for an assault charge, but in general, battery is the intentional act of making physical contact with another person in a harmful manner.
Sexual assault occurs when a person intentionally makes sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. This article will not be focusing on sexual assault charges.
What are your Legal Options When Facing Assault Charges?
It is important to remember that a charge is not a conviction. A charge is a formal accusation of criminal activity. Charges are determined by the prosecuting attorney using information collected from police reports, witness accounts, and evidence.
Being charged with a crime is usually the first step of the legal process. It is how possible penalties are determined, as well as the impact such crimes may have on you, your personal life, and your legal record. When you are charged with a crime, you are not guilty.
A conviction happens at the end or close to the end of the legal process. If you are convicted of a crime, you have been found guilty of that crime.
You want to start building your legal case when you are charged with a crime. If you wait until you are convicted of a crime, then you have likely waited too long, and your legal options are probably limited.
Self-defence is the most common defense against an assault. Self-defense requires several qualifiers for it to be considered. In order to claim self-defense when facing an assault charge, you must reasonably believe your actions were necessary to defend yourself or another. You can also claim self-defense if you believe you are protecting your property from being stolen, damaged, or destroyed. If you are protecting your property by preventing someone else from trespassing or removing someone from your property, you may be able to claim self-defense when facing an assault charge.
It is important to remember that your actions need to be a reasonable response to the circumstances as you perceive them. Simply said, your response must scale with the perceived threat. You can not pummel someone because you felt threatened by a shoulder check.
If you are facing assault charges because of an injury that occurred during a sporting event, let’s say, a game of backyard football, you could claim that the accusor consented to the game knowing an injury was a possibility. Your actions must fall in line with the agreed activity, so if you tackle someone and hurt them playing that game of football, you can claim consent, but if you decide to fight someone during that game, then you can not claim consent.
It is important to remember that two parties can not enter into an illegal agreement; therefore, you can not claim consent. An example of this would be two parties agreeing to fight each other.
Necessity is a difficult defense to claim when facing an assault charge. In order to claim necessity, you must prove that you committed the assault in response to an emergency situation. Your response has to be reasonable for the situation. Also, you have to believe your actions were the only available response to the situation.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Having legal representation is important, and having a lawyer as early as possible in the legal process is even more so. While you could depend on a court-appointed attorney, often referred to as a public defender, wouldn’t you rather have a lawyer who is as worried about your life as you are? The talented lawyers at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC, are here to help you understand your situation and fight for the best, just outcome.
Call the office of Flanary Law Firm, PLLC, at 210-738-8383 as soon as possible for a no-obligation case evaluation. Having a skilled attorney can help you collect evidence and understand the legal process, ensuring you get the best outcome for your assault charge and making sure it does not become an assault conviction!