The Law Office of Stephen Handy: Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer
What is the difference between Assault by Contact, Assault Bodily Injury and Aggravated assault? According to the Texas Penal Code, Title 5 Offenses Against The Person, Chapter 22, Assault Offenses, someone commits an offense if they:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse, or
- Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Notice that under Texas criminal law you can be charged with an assault offense by causing or threatening to cause bodily injury. It can be intentional or simply through reckless conduct. You can also be charged with assault if you make physical contact with someone else when you know the other person will consider it offensive or provocative. (Assault by Contact or Simple Assault – class C misdemeanor) No wonder as a criminal defense attorney I have had so many clients accused of assault!
A common scenario is when you are angry with someone and start running your mouth, it’s absolutely possible that you could be charged with an assault offense like a Terroristic Threat. A Terroristic Threat is not what it sounds like. It does not mean anyone thinks you are a terrorist in the context we have come to assume through media coverage. A Terroristic Threat can be as simple as threatening to cause imminent serious bodily injury to someone. This can be the result of a verbal argument where you say something to the other party placing that person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. You probably did not have any real intent to follow through with the threat, but you simply running your mouth. Although a charge of Terroristic Threat is a misdemeanor in most cases, it looks horrible on your record. If you have been accused of Terroristic Threat or any other assault offense you certainly need an experienced and competent criminal defense lawyer to work on your behalf to restore your reputation.
If you have been charged with assault, it is usually a Class A misdemeanor. However, it can be a felony offense in some cases. For example, if you are accused of committing assault against a public servant (a security officer, emergency services personnel, or a school teacher) you may find yourself charged with the felony offense of Assault Bodily Injury-Public Servant.
Aggravated Assault is different from assault in that it requires a finding of serious bodily injury or involves the use of a deadly weapon in order to intimidate the victim. Most Aggravated Assault crimes are felonies and have serious repercussions. If the assault was committed against a family member, government official, witness or informant, a security officer on the job, or other specific circumstances, the charge can be upgraded to a first-degree felony
The following are crimes that could result in additional charges:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Statutory rape
- Child molestation
Other crimes that are considered under the Assault Chapter in the Texas Penal Code include:
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
- Abandoning or endangering child
- Deadly conduct
- Terroristic threat
- Aiding suicide
- Leaving a child in a vehicle
What should you do?
What should you do if you are being investigated or charged with an assaultive offense? The single best advice is to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As an experienced criminal lawyer that has been practicing in the Fort Worth area over the course of my career, I can help protect your rights in any of the above cases as well as the following assault types of cases:
- Assault by Contact (Class C misdemeanor)
- Assault bodily injury (Class A misdemeanor)
- Assault bodily injury family member (Class A misdemeanor)
- Domestic violence (depends on the specific offense0
- Intoxication assault (Second-degree Felony)
As I have grown in my career I have been tempted, at times, to hire additional attorneys to assist in my office. However, my desire to provide one on one service where I know my clients and they know me has always outweighed the desire to expand my law practice. I personally meet with, answer calls from, and work on all my client’s cases. I am the one that meets you down at court. I am the one that meets with you in my office. I am even one of the few attorneys that give my cell phone number to my clients. I feel it’s important to be accessible when someone is dealing with criminal charges of any kind. I am disciplined, experienced, and passionate about defending my client’s constitutional rights in criminal law matters.
If you have been accused, investigated or charged with assault, call my office at 817-284-2263 to set up a time to discuss your case.