Last Updated on July 29, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
If you’re arrested or charged with an assault, you can be sure that the charge falls under a specific category, but what are these types of assault, and where does this leave you in terms of building a defense.
If you feel that you’ve been wrongly charged with the crime, it can seem overwhelming to make your case to the authorities while keeping a cool and calm demeanor.
After all, you have every right to know the specifics of what you’re being charged with and what rights you have.
In this article, we’ll outline exactly what the charge constitutes and breaks down the difference between the types of assault, which you’ll likely be charged with one or the other.
Read on if you want to take the right step forward in your defense.
Determine The Type Of Assault you’re Being Charged With
When hearing about the assault, you might hear the term battery alongside assault, and in Texas, they are interchangeable.
Whichever term you hear, the charge is likely referring to simple assault and aggravated assault, the two main charges that can be dealt with in this crime category.
Below we break each type down and what punishments are associated with each, from the minor to the extreme nature of the assault.
This type of assault is defined as plainly knowing and intentionally causing or threatening to inflict harm on someone else and intentionally engaging with someone provocatively through contact.
If the assault involves threats of injury or contact, this will be referred to as a class C misdemeanor, which can see a maximum fine of $500.
You can expect this class to go to a B if the assault involves harming a specific person who represents a body like a sports official, which could see you pay a fine or serve a jail term of up to 180 days.
For class A, the assault typically results in significant harm to the individual, where you could see a jail term of up to 1 year and a maximum fine of up to $4,000.
Be aware that simple assault can be charged as a third-degree felony, where you could see a sentence of anything up to 10 years and possibly pay a maximum fine of $10,000.
This category can apply to the charge if the alleged victim happens to be someone like a public servant, emergency service worker, or government employee or official.
This type of assault applies to the charge if the victim suffers any long-term injury such as broken bones, permanent disability, or disfigurement.
This charge also applies if the victim was attacked by a weapon such as a knife, firearm, bricks, or pipes, and so is often a second-degree felony.
This type of felony is reserved for this type of charge and applies to victims who are police officers or court judges, and the maximum prison sentence is 20 years.
Be aware that in this case, you’ll have to cover some sort of damage cost in the form of victim restitution, alongside any fines if there happens to be property damage and a criminal record.
This will limit the defendant’s options of being found guilty, so finding places to live, work in certain fields, volunteering, or even buying a firearm will make it hard or near impossible to do these things.
Are You Being Charged Or Arrested?
When people are being brought in for questioning, they sometimes assume that they’ve been charged and that there’s no chance of defense.
Be aware that there are cases where you can be arrested by police officers and brought in for questioning as they are investigating an allegation, so ensure you know the difference by simply asking the arresting or questioning officer for some clarification on your position.
However, be aware that a charge can come after an arrest if the courts have decided to charge you with the crime, and this is where you’ll have to establish your innocence in front of a court.
This can be more serious because there may be evidence or circumstances that link you to this crime, so you’ll want to take the charge very seriously and consider a legal defense.
You also want to make sure that you act amicably in any of these outcomes, as aggressive behavior can be noted by police officers and can be presented to a court and will make all members of the court look unfavorably on your defense.
How To Build A Legal Defense
If you’ve hired a defense attorney, they will usually have all the details of the case and will run by you what options you have, and if it points out that you’re guilty in the circumstance, they might suggest some compliance or a plea to get you a lighter sentence.
However, before all is lost, there are some legal defenses that you can make which might be applicable to the situation, and we have listed some of these below.
One of the main reasons a case gets dropped is a useable aspect in your defense.
The action has to fall under certain criteria, which will require you to prove that the assault you have done was justified as a means of defense from someone acting violently or threatening to cause harm to you.
For this to work in your circumstance, you have to prove that your actions weren’t extreme, so you used the minimum amount of pressure made by you that ensured your protection.
You have a legal right to prevent yourself from being injured by someone else, and in some instances, there can be disagreements over what constitutes minimal force.
It’s clear, though, that this defense can be dropped if you respond to a threat of violence by breaking or fracturing someone’s arm, for example.
Stand Your Ground Law
This is a law in Texas that allows an individual to defend themselves and their property from someone like a burglar or someone who is attempting to remove pieces of their property.
For this to stand, the charge you’re being accused of has to take place in any home or space you own, and that reasonable use was used to defend and prevent the person from taking any goods, so they fled your property, for example.
It can get a bit complicated when you factor in circumstances where you may have incapacitated a trespasser or detained them, and you can only use this defense if you believe you were at risk of harm or death.
The issue here is the extent to which the trespasser presented the threat, so if you injure them with a weapon or a firearm and it’s determined that you used excessive force, you might be subject to civil and personal costs.
In Defense Of Others
Here is another defense that presents something of a problem as you have to be sure that the individual threatening someone else poses a threat in the form of violence, and in some cases, it can be a life or death situation.
This also extends to circumstances such as catching crimes that are in progress, where you can perform a citizen’s arrest and hold the perpetrator until the police arrive.
Note here that it’s vital that you only use reasonable force to hold a suspect as you could face issues of simple assault if you exert too much force.
If you’re ever in this situation, it might be a good idea for you or someone else to record the events as it’s a means of covering you in case a legal issue is raised.
Anticipate Any Outcome
This can be especially applicable to those who are under suspicion or charged with assault, with the victim being a spouse, friend, or family member, which can make the process more heated.
Even if the victim decided to drop the assault charge, that doesn’t mean the case will be dropped altogether, and the prosecutor might decide to continue the process.
One way you can avoid a trial altogether is if your lawyer goes to the prosecution and negotiates for the dropping of the case or presents information and make an argument on your behalf.
If you’re being accused of a more severe charge, your lawyer might be able to strike a deal where your sentence is either reduced, or you see a drop in the fine and costs that you owe to the victim.
Everyone who is ever involved in charges like these would like to avoid court, but to be realistic, you should consider all outcomes and discuss these with your lawyer.
With this knowledge, you know what types of assault there are and what possible punishment comes with them, so if you or someone you know is ever in the position where they have to defend themselves, you have some way of understanding what the charge means.
If you cannot afford legal representation, it’s a good idea to consider legal aid as you should be covered for most costs, but not all, and it depends on your income and whether you’re in receipt of state benefits or not.
Of course, it’s never a good outcome to have to appear in court, so in brief, you want to be as helpful as you can be in any proceedings so the matter can be resolved more easily if you are compliant.