Misdemeanor assault is a very common charge in Williamson County. When someone makes a 911 call regarding an assault, and the police come to the scene, they will almost always arrest someone. The severity of the charge depends on how much contact the alleged aggressor had with the alleged victim and the injuries that resulted from that contact.
To be guilty of Class-A misdemeanor assault (TX Penal Code, §22.01), a person must “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse.” However “bodily injury” is broadly defined as any “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition [TX Penal Code, §1.07(8)].” Therefore, any physical contact causing pain to another, unless justified by some legal defense, can lead to an arrest for assault. These cases can range from squeezing someone’s arm, to shoving someone, to repeatedly punching someone in the face. The issue is simply whether or not the contact caused pain, regardless of the amount of pain. A Class-A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in county jail and/or an optional fine not to exceed $4000. Typically, if the case is not dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge, and depending on the facts of the case and the person’s prior criminal history, it will result in some form of probation and a fine.
To be guilty of Class-C misdemeanor assault (TX Penal Code, §22.01), a person must “intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative [TX Penal Code, §22.01(a)(3)].” Essentially, this means making contact with someone that is offensive. The accused person is more likely to be arrested (instead of just being issued a citation) if the responding police officer reasonably believes that physical violence is likely to occur later if they simply issue a citation and leave. A Class-C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, but simply paying the fine (the easy thing to do in the short-term) leaves you with a final conviction for something that typically sounds much worse than it probably was, and therefore a ‘black spot’ on your record that will likely follow you for life.
It is extremely important to hire an attorney when you are charged with misdemeanor assault. Assault charges, which often start as simple arguments between family members or friends, could have drastic consequences on your future, including your ability to purchase or own a firearm. There are several defenses that may be available to the accused in an assault case, depending on the facts of the case, including: Self-Defense (TX Penal Code, §9.31), Defense of Third Person (TX Penal Code, §9.33), and Protection of One’s Own Property (TX Penal Code, §9.41). An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, make the best legal arguments on your behalf, and work to get your charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.
Call The Law Office of Gregory R. Terra at (512) 635-4368 for an experienced, local, and highly rated attorney to assist you in your criminal case.