Assaultive offenses generally include assault, battery, domestic (or family) violence, aggravated assault, and homicide. If you are charged or arrested for one of these crimes you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers at Gunter, Bennett and Anthes are well versed in violent offenses and are ready to support you in criminal defense. Please note that the criminal laws in Texas involve a separate process when a juvenile is charged with a crime.
In Texas, Assault can be a Class C Misdemeanor, Class A Misdemeanor, or a Felony. The Class C Misdemeanor is sometimes referred to as “Simple Assault.” You can be charged with simple assault if you “cause physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.” A regular Class A Assault is where a person “causes bodily injury to another.” In Texas, “bodily injury” means pain. For example, if someone pushes you, but it did not hurt, they may be charged with simple assault. If they push you and it hurts (even if there is no visible injury) they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor assault.
The Class C Misdemeanor offense of simple assault is punishable by a fine only up to $500. It is possible to be charged with a simple assault involving domestic violence. A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable up to one year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. Aggravated Assault or an enhanced domestic violence assault is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
In Texas, the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed the assault beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, a person may be able to raise a defense of self-defense or defense of others, which can be used to justify the use of force against another person.
Additionally, Texas has specific laws related to assault with a deadly weapon, which is considered a more serious offense and is punishable by a longer prison term and larger fines.
Felony assault, and there are different degrees, are generally charged when serious bodily injury occurs. “Serious bodily injury” is defined as “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protected loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” An example may be one where a bone is broken during an assault. This is generally referred to as “aggravated assault.” Assault on a peace officer is also a felony offense and is charged when a person commits regular assault with the added element of it being against a public servant.
Homicide: Murder, Capital Murder, Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide
In Texas, the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of an assault can result in the charge being upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony. The specific charge will depend on the circumstances of the case, but it could be either a second-degree or first-degree felony, with the potential for significantly longer prison sentences and larger fines.
It’s important to note that the use of a deadly weapon can greatly increase the severity of the charges and the potential consequences, so it is crucial to have experienced legal representation if you are facing such a charge.
Of course, the highest level of assaultive offenses is homicide which includes the offenses: murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. These are very serious crimes. Generally, murder is where a person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of a person. A person may be charged with capital murder where they intentionally or knowingly cause the death of a person in the course of committing another offense such as robbery, burglary, kidnapping (just to name a few). Manslaughter is charged when a person recklessly causes the death of another. Finally, criminally negligent homicide is just that, homicide that is caused by criminal negligence.
If you are facing assault charges or need a strong defense against crimes of violence, Gunter, Bennett and Anthes, Attorneys at Law in Austin, TX, are here to help. Our experienced team of criminal defense lawyers specializes in handling cases involving assault, self-defense, first-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, bodily harm, sexual assault, and more. With our deep understanding of the legal system and dedication to protecting our clients’ rights, we will vigorously fight for your defense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a skilled and compassionate attorney who will stand by your side throughout the legal process. Your future and freedom are too important to leave to chance. Trust Gunter, Bennett and Anthes, Attorneys at Law to provide the strong defense you deserve.
Family Violence, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence
We are one of Austin’s top domestic violence lawyers. Family Violence, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence are generally lumped together under the term “domestic violence.” If you are involved in an assault where one of the other parties is a family member, roommate, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s a whole different ball game. Texas law takes domestic violence very seriously. In Texas, domestic violence and dating violence are similar but legally distinct concepts. Domestic violence refers to abuse committed by a family member, current or former spouse, or someone with whom the victim shares a child. Dating violence, on the other hand, refers to abuse committed by a current or former dating partner.
The key difference between domestic violence and dating violence is the relationship between the victim and the abuser. Domestic violence can include a wide range of abusive behaviors, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and economic abuse, while dating violence is more focused on intimate partner relationships and can include the same types of abuse.
Both domestic violence and dating violence are taken very seriously in Texas, and a conviction for either can result in serious criminal penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record. Additionally, a victim of domestic violence or dating violence may be able to obtain a protective order to prevent further abuse.
Assuming no bodily injury or choking occurred (and we’ll address choking below) domestic violence assault is generally a Class A Misdemeanor. When a person is convicted of domestic violence—or even successfully completes deferred adjudication and had their case dismissed—the court enters a “Family Violence Finding.” This family violence finding will follow you for the rest of your life. If you are ever arrested a second time for family violence the charge gets bumped up from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Second Degree Felony. Since this is Texas, it’s important to note that if you have a family violence finding, you may never own or possess a firearm or ammunition. To do so is against state and federal law.
Texas law has also recently changed regarding domestic violence. Under the new law, if you “impede the normal breathing” of a person in the course of committing the offense of domestic violence you will be charged with a second degree felony (as opposed to a Class A Misdemeanor). Since the change in the law, all of our clients who have been charged with domestic violence and who have put their hand somewhere around or on the other person’s neck or throat have been charged with a second degree felony.
Murder is a first degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Capital murder is considered a capital felony and is punishable by either life in prison or the death penalty. The good news is that there is no fine if you are convicted of capital murder. Manslaughter is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony and is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine.
Make sure you have the right Austin family violence lawyer when facing these significant criminal charges