Assault charges, including domestic violence charges, are serious charges. Not only do they have potential to impact you immediately, they have the potential to impact you for the rest of your life. Before we talk about assault charges and their potential impacts, its important to remember that an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these negative consequences through a detailed analysis of the facts unique to your charge and skillful application of these facts to Texas Law. Trusted throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Jeff Brown can deliver big firm results at small firm prices.
What is an Assault?
Under Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 22.01, an assault is any action that either causes bodily injury to another, offensive or provocative physical contact, or threatens immediate harm to another. Yes, you read that right: you do not have to even touch the other person to be charged with assault.
A police officer may immediately arrest an individual and charge that person with assault if they witness the person striking or trying to cause harm to another person. However, if a victim alleges relationships with the accused that qualify as family or dating relationships, then the accused can be arrested and charged with assault family violence without the police officer having to have witnessed any of the alleged actions.
What are the different types of and penalties for Assault?
Simple Assault. A simple assault is either a) contact between two people where no injuries result, but the “victim” feels that the contact was offensive or provocative, or b) no contact between two people, but the “victim” feels threatened with imminent bodily injury. Another major factor in differentiating simple assault from anything more serious is that there is no family or dating relationship between the accused and the alleged victim. Simple Assault is a Class C misdemeanor. In Texas, the penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500.
Domestic Violence/Family Violence. A domestic violence assault is known in Texas as Assault Family Violence, or AFV. This is by far the most common type of assault charge seen in misdemeanor courts. This charge is the result of a simple assault and a family or dating relationship between the accused and the alleged victim. AFV is a Class A misdemeanor. In Texas, the possible penalties for a Class A misdemeanor are incarceration in the county jail for up to 1 year and a fine of up to $4,000.
Aggravated Assault. An aggravated assault takes the elements of a simple battery and adds a level of violence by alleging that the accused used or showed a deadly weapon during the commission of the battery. Aggravated Assault is a Second Degree Felony. In Texas, the possible penalty for a conviction of a second degree felony is incarceration in prison for up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if there is a family or dating relationship alleged in the commission of an aggravated assault, then it is considered a First Degree Felony. In Texas, the possibly penalty for a conviction here is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
There are various other subsets of assault laws that depend of various factors. Are you alleged to have assaulted an elderly person? Are you alleged to have assaulted a referee or coach of the opposing team? Were you fighting against a police officer, firefighter, or EMT that was engaged in their normal course of business? Do you have a previous record for assault? All of these carry varying levels of severity under Texas law and depend upon the facts alleged. This is why it’s important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney helping you navigate these rules. Why would you leave something this important, with these potentially devastating consequences, to chance?
What are the long-term consequences for an Assault Conviction?
A conviction for assault can have far reaching consequences. This list is not exhaustive; consult your attorney. But here are some potential consequences that you might not know about.
Loss of Rental Residence. Many of my former clients report that a conviction for assault is a deal breaker when they try to rent an apartment or house. Would your landlord consider your lease broken if you get an assault conviction on your record? Loss of Employment. Many employers look at an assault conviction unfavorably. Employers do not want to deal with an individual that is perceived as having interpersonal problems. And a potential employer would not want to invest in an otherwise great employee who cannot control emotions and physical reactions.
You Cannot Own a Gun. If you are convicted of Assault Family Violence or any other charge that includes an element of Family Violence, then you are forbidden under Federal Law from ever owning or purchasing a gun again. Your Second Amendment right is gone.
Loss of Reputation. In today’s society, information is at our fingertips through our mobile devices and the Internet. In an effort to keep people informed, a lot of cities and other groups review daily arrest records and splash your information all over the Internet, usually before a trial even occurs. While these groups claim they are benefiting society, I’ve seen too many people negatively impacted by having their name negatively linked on the internet before the State has even proven the charges against the accused in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Can you afford that loss of reputation?
Get Help From an Experienced Attorney
Jeff Brown is an experienced criminal defense attorney serving the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. For many years, he has helped his clients navigate the murky waters of the criminal justice system. He has helped his clients avoid the life-changing results of criminal convictions through his detailed-oriented case reviews and skillful ability to craft a defense with those facts and the law. Jeff Brown can deliver big firm results at small firm prices. Come and see how he can help you when everything is on the line.