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TX defense lawyerMany people have been in a fight at one point or another. Some fights consist of little more than name-calling and light shoving. Other fights escalate into serious physical altercations in which multiple parties are injured. Individuals who were involved in a fight may find themselves facing criminal charges for assault or family violence.

Criminal Penalties for Assault and Domestic Violence

Violent criminal offenses are penalized harshly in Texas. Even if you were only acting in self-defense, you may be charged with a criminal offense for participating in a fight. In Texas, assault causing bodily injury is a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties for assault can include up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $4000. Domestic violence or family violence is penalized the same as assault causing bodily injury unless the person has a prior conviction for assault against a family member. If so, the charge is elevated to a felony.

Assault may also be a felony crime if the victim was a child, elderly person, disabled person, or public servant. Aggravated assault may also be charged if there was serious bodily harm or if the alleged perpetrator used a deadly weapon during the assault.


TX defense lawyerThere are a variety of situations where someone may cause harm to someone else. In cases where someone acted in a way that was intentionally meant to injure someone, they may be charged with assault. While this can be a serious charge, the penalties can be even more severe if the offense is increased to aggravated assault. Because of this, anyone who is charged with assault involving bodily injury will want to understand the nature of their alleged offense, the potential penalties they may face, and the possible defense strategies that may allow them to avoid being convicted or reduce the offense to a lesser charge.

Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

“Simple” assault may be charged if a person knowingly and intentionally caused someone to suffer a bodily injury, and these charges may also apply if a person threatened to injure someone or even if they made physical contact with a person in a way that the person believed was provocative or offensive. Aggravated assault charges may apply if a person allegedly committed an act that could be considered assault that inflicted serious bodily injury on someone. An assault charge may also be increased to aggravated assault if the alleged perpetrator used or was carrying a deadly weapon when they committed the act of assault.

In many cases, whether an offense is considered assault or aggravated assault will depend on the level of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim. Under the Texas Penal Code, “bodily injury” includes any form of physical pain or illness or any other issues that impair a person’s physical condition. However, to be considered a “serious bodily injury,” a person must have suffered harm that put them at a substantial risk of being killed, or they must have been permanently disfigured or experienced the loss or long-term impairment of an organ or part of their body.


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Most people understand that intentionally injuring or harming someone else can lead to criminal charges. In Texas, a wide variety of different actions can fall under the category of assault, but they typically involve claims that a person has acted in a way that he or she knew would cause bodily injury to a person, either intentionally or recklessly. While “simple” assault charges can result in a variety of criminal consequences, these charges become even more serious when a charge is elevated to aggravated assault. Those who have been accused of serious assault charges will want to understand the exact nature of the offense they are accused of committing, as well as the potential penalties they may face if convicted.

Aggravating Factors in Assault Cases

The Texas Penal Code states that a person may be charged with assault if he or she caused bodily injury to someone else either on purpose or through reckless actions, threatened to commit bodily injury or purposely made physical contact with someone else in a manner that could be considered offensive or provocative. A charge may be elevated to aggravated assault if one of the following occurred when the individual allegedly committed assault:


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In Texas, the crime of assault is taken seriously. This particular offense includes any situation in which the offender intentionally or knowingly causes or threatens bodily harm to another person, or physically contacts another person in an offensive or provocative manner. However, the severity of the assault and the resulting penalties can vary greatly depending on the situation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can be especially important if you are facing charges of aggravated assault in Texas.

Consequences of a Texas Aggravated Assault Conviction

In most cases, simple assault in Texas is considered a Class A misdemeanor or lower, resulting in penalties of up to one year of imprisonment and $4,000 in fines. However, certain factors can increase the charges to aggravated assault, including:


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Arguments between strangers or even family members can often lead to heated disputes that may result in physical confrontations. Statistics show that assault is one of the most common types of violent crimes committed in the United States. Many people think an assault is a physical attack on someone, but it can also just be the threat of inflicting violence. It is important to know and understand the laws concerning assault in Texas, because you never know when incidents might escalate. If you or someone you know is facing assault charges, a skilled criminal defense attorney can ensure your rights are protected in a court of law. 

Assault in Texas: An Umbrella Term

Many states have defined “assault” as merely threatening or attempting to commit harmful acts upon another person. The actual act of harming someone is defined as a “battery” charge. In Texas, the two crimes are combined into one single offense. All of the following actions are classified as assault (in this case, “simple assault”):

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