Most people don't realize that a person can be arrested in Texas for an assault charge without any use of physical force. The law states that a person can be arrested and charged with an assault if they just attempt to hurt someone physically. One can also be charged for just the mere threat of force or use of force, if they make the victim apprehensive of harmful or offensive contact. Battery, on the other hand, is typically defined as the actual touching of the victim in a harmful or offensive manner. If the assault occurs while the defendant is using a deadly weapon or attempting to commit a serious crime, it will likely be charged as aggravated assault. Injury does not necessarily have to occur for the crime to be aggravated assault. A skilled criminal defense attorney can assist you with the precise definitions and associated defenses for your case.
Most assault charges involve family members and/or conflicts in dating relationships. Emotions run high and feelings can be tense, words are spoken and rash things are done (often by both parties), the police are called to help resolve the conflict, and from that point forward a minor distrurbance that might have been resolved through counseling suddenly becomes a criminal case.
Carl David Ceder is a criminal defense attorney who has successfully represented numerous people accused of assault and other related misdemeanor and felony crimes. Carl is knowledgeable, well-versed in the law, and tenacious in the defense of his clients.
Our office can defend people accused of assault crimes, such as:
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Domestic Violence
- Murder and Attempted Murder
- Vehicular Assault
- Weapons Charges
- Please call The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, at 214.702.CARL (2275)for an experienced Assault attorney to advise you or your loved one of all available options.
Under the criminal laws of Texas, assault is defined in the Penal Code as follows:
Section 22.01 Texas Penal Code. ASSAULT
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;
(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or
(3) 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.
That means not only can you be charged for physically assaulting someone, but also if you simply tell someone you are going to beat them up, and that person has a reasonable fear that you are able and about to do it.
In many cases, the police may arrest you with very little evidence if they feel you are being uncooperative. That doesn't necessarily mean you did anything wrong, much less committed a crime. It is vitally important to hire an aggressive attorney to help fight the charges to help keep your record clean. No one should be stuck with a permanent criminal record just for getting into a heated argument.
Domestic violence occurs when an intimate partner or family member attempts to control the actions of another through the use of physical violence, threats, intimidation, isolation, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or economic abuse. Domestic violence can occur between spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, divorced couples, parents and children. When an assault takes place between those living under the same roof, matters often escalate uncontrollably: social workers, victims' rights groups, and the courts can all become involved. What might have been an argument involving minor physical contact may result in a criminal charge. Domestic violence is not just physical acts either. It can potentially include name-calling, put downs, threats, and even financial control.
Many people do not fully understand the seriousness of an assault with a finding of family violence. Texas Family Violence is defined as the reckless infliction of pain on a family or household member, which can simply involve two people who live together, or are dating. The charges are filed by the police department, not by the abused person. In fact, the victim has no control over the charges at all once filed. Many times the victim disputes the charges and later choose to sign an affidavit of non-prosecution, trying to relieve their loved one of the criminal charge faced. However, the victim of a family violence charge does not decide what happens with the case and cannot "drop" the charges. Only the prosecutor can decide not to proceed with the case based on the evidence.
Victims can apply for Orders of Protection. Orders of Protection are designed to provide victims with relief from the abuse. Orders of protection may require the offender to leave the home, return personal property to the victim, pay child support, or perform other similar acts. The Order of Protection usually remains effective for 60 days for a misdemeanor assault, and 90 days for a felony assault, prohibiting you from returning to your home if you live with the alleged victim. Matters can be further complicated if you work together or have children together.
Consequences of Family Violence Finding
Family violence findings carry very serious punishments and severe repercussions for life. Under Federal law, those persons convicted of a criminal offense with a finding of family violence cannot purchase or possess a firearm for the rest of their life. Even if you successfully complete probation for the assault charge with the family violence finding, you still have a conviction on your record which will NEVER go away. Moreover, if you are again charged with an assault that involves a family member or intimate partner, then it will immediately be enhanced and charged as a felony. What then might be a relatively minor altercation now will be charged and handled as a felony by the courts. In addition, therefore, for the person having a family violence finding, they also now might be facing being a convicted felon for the rest of their life.
If you are charged with simple assault, it can become a 3rd-degree felony if the state proves that you:
1. Committed the assault against a family member or someone with whom you are in a romantic relationship, and you have a previous family violence finding;
2. Knew the person was a public servant or government contractor carrying out official duties, or you committed the assault on a public servant in retaliation for doing his job;
3. Knew the person was a security guard or emergency services worker, and you committed the assault while the person was doing his job.
The penalties also increase if you are charged with causing serious injury or using a weapon while committing assault. Aggravated assault is a 2nd-degree felony, and the statutory range of punishment is 2 to 20 years in a Texas prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated assault can become a 1st-degree felony, with a statutory range of punishment of 5 years to life, in cases of domestic violence, or if the assault was committed against a public official, security guard, informant, or witness to a crime.
Texas law allows for certain legal defenses against a criminal charge of assault or aggravated assault. This means that if technically you did commit the assault, you may be able to argue one of these affirmative defenses.
An affirmative defense – a defense in which you admit doing it, but argue that you had a legal reason – in an assault case could be that you believed the assault was necessary to prevent the person from harming you or someone else (self-defense). If a reasonable person would have felt it necessary to use force to avoid a danger of being hurt, and reasonable force was used, then there may be a viable self-defense argument. This also may apply when the person was defending someone else against the danger of physical harm. In other cases, the alleged assault may have been accidental, or the accuser may have misinterpreted the defendant's actions. The defense of property may even be a viable defense to a charge of assault.
If you are in need of an aggressive, skilled, and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, please call The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC at 214.702.CARL (2275) now.