Assault Charges in Fort Bend County, Texas

If you’ve been charged with assault in Texas, you could potentially face some serious consequences, including a lengthy prison sentence. Assault is typically considered to be a violent crime and prosecutors may aggressively pursue the harshest penalty depending on the circumstances of your case. If you’re facing assault charges in the Fort Bend County area, you need to know what to expect.

Defining Assault in Texas

Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code establishes the guidelines for what constitutes an assault offense. A person commits assault if he or she:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse.
  2. Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse.
  3. 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.

In many states, there is a distinction between assault and battery. In these instances, “assault” refers to the intent or threat to do physical harm while “battery” refers to actual physical contact. In the state of Texas, assault and battery are combined into a single charge.

This means that you can be charged with assault if you only threaten to harm someone, so long as the person has a reasonable degree of fear that you intend to actually do it.

To be charged with assault in the state of Texas, a law enforcement officer has to either witness the action or seek a formal arrest warrant from a judge. The exception to this rule is claims of assault where the victim or other party is a family member.

Penalties for Assault in Texas

The penalties for an assault conviction vary based on the circumstances of the case. Assault may be treated as either a
misdemeanor a felony, depending on the type of contact involved and the identity of the victim.

I. Misdemeanor Assault Penalties

Misdemeanors are considered to be a less serious class of crimes. A misdemeanor assault may be categorized as Class A,
Class B or Class C.

  • Assault is typically classified as a Class C misdemeanor in cases involving threats or touching without causing
    injury. Under Texas law, a Class C misdemeanor assault is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • Class B misdemeanor assault offenses typically involve more severe threats or increased physical contact. If you
    threaten or physically harm a sports official, such as a referee or umpire, this is also treated as a Class B
    misdemeanor. If convicted of this type of assault, you could face up to 180 days in county jail and a $2,000
  • A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor charge and carries a penalty of up to one year in county
    jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Assault is typically categorized as a Class A misdemeanor if physical contact
    results in minor injuries. Threatening or physically harming an elderly person is also considered a Class A

II. Felony Assault Penalties

A felony assault charge carries much stiffer penalties than a misdemeanor and typically involves more a greater degree
of injury to the victim. Assault can be charged as a first, second or third-degree felony.

  • Third-degree felony charges apply if you:
    1. Assaulted a family member, spouse or other significant other and you have a previous domestic violence conviction.
    2. Assaulted a public servant or government contractor while they were carrying out their official duties.
    3. Assaulted a security guard or emergency services worker while they were on duty.

    The penalty for a third-degree felony under Texas law is a prison term of between 2 and 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

  • Assault is considered to be a second-degree felony if:
    1. You caused serious injury to your victim
    2. You used a weapon during the commission of the assault

    A second-degree felony conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment for 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

  • Assault becomes a first-degree felony in cases involving:
    1. Domestic violence
    2. Offenses against a public official, security guard, witness to a crime or police informant

    If convicted of a first-degree felony assault charge, you could receive between 5 and 99 years in prison and be forced to pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Defending an Assault Charge

Your Fort Bend County criminal defense attorney can guide you in establishing the best defense strategy for your case. Choosing the right defense can potentially help you to get the charges against you reduced or eliminated entirely. Depending on your case, you may be able to claim that:

  • The alleged victim suffered no physical injury
  • The alleged victim’s injuries stemmed from circumstances other than the alleged assault
  • You had no way of knowing that the alleged victim would interpret your words or actions as threatening
  • You were unaware that the alleged victim was a public servant or other public official
  • You acted in self-defense
  • The alleged victim consented to the action

Enlisting the aid of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is the first step in fighting assault charges. The law office of Lee D. Cox specializes in helping defendants charged with assault in the Fort Bend County area. He is dedicated to vigorously defending his clients in order to achieve the best possible outcome in a criminal case.

A criminal conviction can have serious and long-lasting implications. If you or a family member has been charged with assault, criminal defense attorney Lee D. Cox is here to help. Call Lee today at 281-762-7345 to schedule your initial case evaluation and get the expert legal representation you need to protect your rights.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney's office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

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