In Texas, assault is not an uncommon crime. Recently, Yong Chen, a tenured professor at Texas A&M business school faced a possible prison term of two and 10 years. He allegedly attempted to strangle his wife during an argument. Chen is accused of assaulting his wife by placing both of his hands on her throat and restricting her breathing. The argument was allegedly over whether or not they needed to hire a housekeeper. During said argument, Chen’s wife was allegedly calling him “negative words.” To stop the verbal abuse, Chen placed a hand on his wife’s mouth; she then bit his hand. This prompted Chen to place his hands on her throat.
Per Texas law, the penalties of an assault can be severe. As in the foregoing case, assault charges are typically accompanied with significant legal penalties. Also, the repercussions of having these charges on your record may follow you for the rest of your life. For these reasons, if you have an assault charge, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. The lawyers at the Wheeler Law Office are here to help.
Assault as Defined in Texas
A number of states treat assault and battery as separate offenses. Texas treats them as the same with the same elements. Per Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Sec. 22.01, a person may be charged with an assault in three different scenarios. For one, when defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily harm to the victim. Second, when the defendant intentionally or knowingly threatened the victim with imminent bodily injury. Third, when the defendant intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with the victim when the defendant knew or should have reasonably believed that the contact would be offensive or provocative to the victim. If certain facts exist, the charge of assault may be lifted to aggravated assault. Aggravated assault requires the prosecutor to prove the same elements as an assault charge. However, with aggravated assault, defendant must have used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the assault, or it can involve inflicting serious bodily injury on the victim.
Furthermore, Texas law recognizes several defenses to a charge of assault. These defenses include, but are certainly not limited to, self-defense, insanity, lack of knowledge, mistake and involuntary intoxication. It is important that you retain an criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers at Wheeler Law Office are able to aggressively represent you and argue applicable defenses.
Penalties for Assault in Texas
In Texas, if you are convicted of an assault, the penalties can be severe. The severity of the penalty depends on if you have prior convictions, as well as the particular circumstances of the assault. The penalties of an assault charge typically start at a Class A misdemeanor. This is normally punishable by serving jail time of up to 365 days and/or paying a fine not to exceed $4,000. If convicted of an assault, the most severe penalty is usually a felony in the first degree with a prison sentence between five and 99 years and/or paying a fine not to exceed $10,000.
If prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that aggravating circumstances existed, this could significantly increase the severity of your penalty. Texas recognizes a number of aggravating circumstances, including, but not limited to:
- The age of the victim;
- The degree of injuries the victim(s) sustained;
- If the assault was sexual;
- The position of the victim (for instance, were they a public servant or federal employer);
- If the victim was disabled; and
- If the assault was committed intentionally.
Hire an Attorney for Your Case
If you are charged with assault, contact the Wheeler Law Office. Alan Wheeler, the lead attorney, has experience as a former prosecutor and has knowledge of the tactics the District Attorney’s office uses to get convictions. We use this knowledge to aggressively defend clients facing assault charges. These charges are serious and include significant fines and possible jail time. They can remain permanently on your record and damage your reputation. Contact our experienced Denton theft attorney right away for a FREE consultation.