Multiple kinds of assault occur in Texas. Sometimes, assault charges result from someone intimidating or threatening another person. Other times, it might be offensive or provocative physical contact that leads to someone’s arrest and prosecution.
Many people face assault charges if they initiate physical contact with someone else and cause bodily injury. Charges of bodily injury assault in Texas could lead to both significant penalties depending on the circumstances and a criminal record that could affect someone’s life indefinitely.
How does Texas penalize those convicted of bodily injury assault in Texas?
Penalties depend on the circumstances
In most cases, assault bodily injury charges are Class A misdemeanor offenses. The person accused could face up to $4,000 in fines and as long as a year in jail. If the injured person is a family member, household member, roommate or current/former romantic partner of the person accused, the state can charge someone with a third-degree felony for assault causing bodily injury. The penalties possible increase to between two and 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Enhanced charges are also possible if the injured party is a police officer, EMT or another public servant. Additionally, cases involving choking/strangulation or a pregnant woman could also lead to felony charges.
How does Texas define bodily injury?
Texas has a relatively broad definition of bodily injury. If the incident caused someone physical pain, illness or impairment of their physical abilities, then it meets the Texas standard for bodily injury. Contrary to popular belief, bodily injury assault cases do not need to involve permanent injuries or lasting physical consequences for the injured party. However, the severity of someone’s injuries could absolutely influence the penalties that a judge imposes.
There are many ways to defend against assault charges. People can prove they weren’t the one involved in the altercation or assert that they acted in self-defense. They could potentially also raise questions about whether the situation meets the necessary standard for aggravated charges.
Those who plead guilty to assault charges risk major penalties and a life-altering criminal record. Seeking legal guidance to better understand the Texas approach to assaultive offenses – and how to construct a strong defense – can help people better respond when facing assault allegations.