All assaults have a few things in common. They are all reckless and egregious acts with the intention to coerce or harm the person being assaulted and includes threatening physical injury or bodily harm. One important distinction is whether or not it was a simple or aggravated assault, the latter more often leading to a felony charge.
Misdemeanor Assaults in Texas
A misdemeanor is a crime that is typically less serious than a felony and carries a lighter sentence. The three classifications for misdemeanors in Texas, ranked from least serious to most, are:
- Class C: The most simple of assaults, this carries with it a fine of up to $500.
- Class B: This carries a sentence of up to 180 days in jail, plus up to $2,000 in fines.
- Class A: This generally carries a sentence of up to one year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, or just one of these.
A charge can be elevated depending on who the victim was. For example, a simple assault, which is a Class C misdemeanor, becomes a Class A misdemeanor when the victimized person is an old woman. The code gets even more specific, including elevated seriousness for assaulting a public figure, celebrity, or even a sporting official who is attacked by angry fans during a game. However, assault on a family member that results in serious bodily harm is considered a felony, which is discussed more below.
Felony Assaults in TX
If you’ve knowingly, intentionally and recklessly caused harm to another person, or brandished a weapon during the assault, then the charge is elevated to a felony. There are also five classifications for felonies in Texas:
- First degree: The sentence for assault in the first degree then you will be required to serve at least 5 years in prison with a maximum of 99 years, or life in prison.
- Second degree: A minimum of two years of prison, but no more than 20 is part of the sentencing for second-degree assault, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third degree: A minimum of two years of prison, but no more than 10 is part of third-degree sentencing, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
- Capital Punishment: This is the most serious punishment that can be given in the state of Texas for assault. A verdict of guilty can result in life imprisonment with no chance at parole, and the death penalty will often be sought out.
- State Jail Felony: These carry a sentence of between 180 days and up to two years.
Factors that can increase sentencing include aggravated and sexual assault, whether the victim was elderly or a child and whether a deadly weapon was used during the assault.
When To Call A Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for assault then you will need the right attorney to help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights. An experienced Fort Worth assault lawyer will be able to explain to you the Texas penal code, as well as the process of going to court. They will be able to listen to you and provide counsel specifically catered to your situation. Hiring an attorney means that you will have a higher likelihood of having your charges reduced or eliminated completely.