Fort Worth Assault Lawyer
THE EXPERIENCE TO FIGHT FOR YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
Every state has different laws regarding assault. In Texas, there is a broad definition of assault. The crime includes all types of offensive touches and the intentional infliction of harm. If a prosecutor wants to get a guilty verdict, they need to prove the act occurred and that it was done with knowledge or intent.
Typically, violent crimes draw attention. Prosecutors often want to use the defendant as an example, and the judge and jury could react in a similar way. If you want to want to limit the consequences of your charges, you should work with a Fort Worth assault lawyer. Here at Cole Paschall Law, we have experience representing those accused of violent crimes. With our help, you can take on the justice system.
What is Assault in Texas?
There are two basic types of assault in Texas. The first type is simple assault. When a simple assault occurs, the defendant does not use a weapon. This type of assault can be something as minor as spitting on someone. In fact, it does not need to involve touching. If you threaten violence, you can assault someone without laying a hand on them.
All of the following are considered simple assault:
- Knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causing physical harm to a person
- Knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally making a threat of bodily harm to another person
- Knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally making physical contact with someone that is either provocative or offensive (if the offender knows or should know that the touching is provocative or offensive?)
If someone intentionally harms another individual, they are guilty of assault. This includes physical pain, sickness, or impairing someone.
If the injury is a serious bodily injury, it does not qualify as assault. Instead, it would result in more serious charges. Typically, the bodily injury in assault cases results in abrasions, bruises, and cuts. However, there do not need to be any visible marks. At times, assaults leave no marks on their victims. They merely cause minor injuries that are invisible to the eye.
If the prosecution wants a conviction of an assault involving bodily injury, they need to prove that you meant to cause one of three scenarios. They must show that you wanted to cause injury, were aware you would cause injury, or you should have realized it would cause injury. It’s up to a jury to decide whether the prosecution has enough evidence to prove one of the three scenarios. If your Fort Worth assault lawyer mounts a strong defense, they may be able to convince a jury otherwise.
Threat of Injury
In 2016, Fort Worth had a population of 855,897. With such a high population in a relatively small area, the city is home to many conflicts. A large portion of those conflicts involve threats, which can be a type of assault.
Threatening someone can have a profound effect on their mental state. For that reason, Texas has strict laws regarding threats. If you knowingly or intentionally make a threat of physical harm to someone, you could face a terroristic threat charge.
However, not all threats could result in penalties. The victim needs to have a reason to believe the threats. If there is no reasonable expectation of bodily harm, then there is no case. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant made the threat and that the victim truly believed the threat would become a reality.
In Fort Worth, 65 out of every 1,000 people are victims of crimes. One of those crimes is assault involving offensive contact. This type of assault occurs only if the defendant knowingly makes offensive contact with someone. The contact could also be provocative.
This type of assault is different than the others in that the defendant needs to be aware that their actions are provocative or offensive. If they touch someone in a way they believe to be acceptable, the defendant will not be found guilty.
Therefore, defending offensive contact charges usually involves showing that the offender was unaware. For instance, an individual could touch someone in an inappropriate manner. But an attorney could show that the individual had no way of knowing that the touching was inappropriate.
Consequences of Assault Charges
If you are found guilty of assault, you are likely to only be convicted of a misdemeanor. But there are circumstances in which the court could find you guilty of a felony. This is often the case when there are other factors, such as minor injuries or weapon involvement.
The consequences you receive depends on the severity of your crime. If your assault is a misdemeanor, your penalties are less serious than those of a felony. But they can still impact your future.
A Misdemeanor Assault
There are several types of misdemeanors. Typically, an offensive touching but no actual harm is a Class C misdemeanor. If there are no other crimes or factors, the offender is likely to receive a fine as high as $500. For a Class C misdemeanor, they will not receive jail time.
In some cases, the court will make the assault a Class B misdemeanor. This could happen if the victim is in the midst of a sporting event. It could also happen if the assault is a reaction to a performance in a sporting event.
In Texas, a Class B misdemeanor could get you as much as 180 days of jail time. It also can result in a fine of as much as $2,000.
It is possible for your assault to become a Class A misdemeanor. However, there are only two scenarios that could end this way. The first scenario involves bodily injury. If there are no other aggravating circumstances, you could face penalties for a Class A. The second scenario involves offensive or provocative contact to an elderly person. Because of the victim’s age, you could do as much as one year in jail and be fined as much as $4,000.
A Felony Assault
If your assault meets the criteria for a felony, you could face harsher penalties. For instance, a third-degree penalty comes with as long as ten years in prison. The fine is as much as $10,000. Meanwhile, a second-degree felony brings up to 20 years of prison time and a fine of $10,000.
If the victim is a public servant, an assault could be a felony. Additionally, the crime is a felony if the incident was a retaliation to the performance of a duty.
Assaults in the home are taken quite seriously in Texas. For this reason, an assault against your spouse, partner, or family member could be a felony. This happens when you have a prior conviction of a similar nature, or you choked the victim. With one in three women being a victim of intimate partner violence, Tarrant County handles many family assault cases.
Certain circumstances could make your assault a second-degree felony. For this to be the case, your assault needs to meet all of the following requirements:
- You committed the assault against a spouse, family member, or partner or have a prior conviction for assault against them
- You choked the victim and kept them from breathing or kept their blood from circulating
Defending Assault with a Fort Worth Assault Lawyer
Your assault charge could change your life forever. But it doesn’t have to. If you work with an attorney, you can fight for a fair outcome. There are several ways in which you can defend assault charges:
If you acted in self-defense, you might not incur penalties for your actions. It is illegal to assault someone, but it’s not illegal if you’re acting violently to defend yourself. Someone with experience in criminal defense in Fort Worth can collect the evidence needed to prove you acted in self-defense.
This defense is similar to the previous defense, but it involves defending other people. If the victim was trying to harm someone else, your actions could have been in self-defense. You may not be convicted of an assault.
There was Consent
If there’s consent for the offender’s actions, then there is no crime. For instance, someone could hit another individual in a boxing match. Because there was consent prior to the match, the action wasn’t a crime.
Choosing the Right Attorney
Unless you have experience with criminal defense in Fort Worth, you can’t know which defense will work best for your case. And the stakes are high. If you don’t choose the right defense, you risk doing jail time and a fine. Your life could change in an instant.
Even if you’re charged with a misdemeanor assault, your conviction could stick with you. Long after your court case, you could encounter trouble as you search for jobs, housing, and more. However, the right attorney can defend you. Here at Cole Paschall Law, we know what it takes to get results. Our aggressive firm will fight for you and your future. To get started, call us today.
Call our Fort Worth assault defense lawyers today at (817) 477-4100.