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What Assault and Domestic Violence Means in Austin, TX

Did you get into a fight with someone? Were you charged with assault or domestic violence in Austin? If so, take the charge seriously -- even if you know you are innocent of provoking the incident. Jason English is a criminal defense attorney in Austin, Texas. He knows the law, the court system, and the hardworking people who are often charged with this offense. He also knows that the circumstances leading up to an assault or domestic violence incident can be complex. He is here to fight for your rights and freedom. Contact him today so he can begin reviewing the facts of your case.

Assault in Austin, TX: What It Is

Assault in Texas is classified as either simple or aggravated.

Simple Assault

According to Texas Penal Code Ann. § 22.01, simple assault in Texas occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

  1. causes bodily injury to another person
  2. threatens another person with imminent bodily injury, or
  3. causes physical contact with another person knowing (or reasonably should have known) that person would find it provocative or offensive.

Aggravated Assault

According to Tex. Penal Code § 22.02, aggravated assault occurs when a person commits simple assault in addition to

  1. causing serious bodily injury to another person, including a spouse; or
  2. using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

Assault in Austin, TX: When it Becomes Domestic Violence

Assault becomes domestic violence when the person assaulted is

  • A spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Sibling
  • Child, including an adopted child
  • Roommate
  • Nanny
  • Current or former girlfriend or boyfriend, and -- in some cases --
  • An ex-girlfriend's or ex-boyfriend's current partner.

When the assault includes domestic violence, the offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It can, however, be classified as either a third- or second-degree felony if you have a criminal history of domestic violence and/or the assault involved the act of choking.

Consequences of an Assault Conviction in Texas

The penalties for a conviction of assault, whether simple or aggravated, are serious in Texas. The penalties you face are determined by the class or degree of assault you have been charged with.

Simple Assault

  • Class C Misdemeanor Assault typically occurs when a person threatens harm but no injury results or a person makes physical contact in a provocative or offensive manner. There is no jail time but there could be a fine up to $500.
  • Class A Misdemeanor Assault typically occurs when intentionally or knowingly causes pain to another without their consent. Penalties include jail up to one year and a fine up to $4,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony Assault typically occurs when the assaulted person is a public servant, security officer, emergency personnel, or government official. Penalties include incarceration at a prison for two to ten years and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony Assault typically occurs when the assaulted person is an on-duty peace officer or judge or assault family violence, enhanced by assault family violence conviction and the allegation includes impeding the airflow of the victim. Penalties include incarceration at a prison for two to twenty years and a fine up to $10,000.

You may also have to pay restitution to the victim, which could include reimbursement for medical treatment, counseling, or property damage.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault offenses are usually charged as either a second-degree felony or first-degree felony. Penalties for a conviction of either of these charges are serious and will have a deep impact on your life.

  • Second-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault penalties include incarceration at a prison for two to twenty years and a fine up to $10,000.
  • First-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault penalties include incarceration at a prison for five to 99 years and a fine up to $10,000.

You may also have to pay restitution to the victim as well. In addition, you face serious collateral consequences of your conviction. Felons lose their right to vote and their right to own and possess firearms. Once you have paid your debt to society, you still face a considerable backlash. You will have to admit to your felony when you apply for a job. You could face difficulties acquiring loans or other financial assistance, whether it is for purchasing a home or seeking higher education. There is a lot to consider, thus, it is important to retain an experienced, resourceful assault defense attorney in Austin, Texas, who can develop a comprehensive defense strategy in your favor.

Defenses to a Charge of Assault and Domestic Violence in Texas

In Texas, there are affirmative and general defenses that may be employed when you have been charged with assault, aggravated assault, and/or domestic violence.

Affirmative Defenses

An affirmative defense is where you admit to performing the crime but you had a justifiable reason for doing so. In assault cases, there are two specific affirmative defenses:

  • Consent, where the other person consented to the assault or you reasonably believe the other person consented. But consent is only an affirmative defense if
  1. The conduct did not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury on the other person,
  2. If applicable, the person knew the conduct was recognized as a medical treatment or scientific experiment, and
  3. The conduct was not the result of a gang initiation or gang-related criminal activity.
  • Self-defense, where you believe your person, your property, or someone else is in imminent danger of harm. This defense is only successful if you did not initially initiate the or provoke the other person in any way.

General Defenses

If an affirmative defense does not apply in your case, an experienced attorney will use evidence and skill to weaken the State's case against you and deny the charges altogether.

Your attorney will consider the facts and circumstances, including the manner in which the evidence was obtained and how you were arrested. If any violations of your constitutional rights are present, your attorney can use that to move the court to suppress evidence flowing from those violations.

Retain an Aggressive Assault & Domestic Violence Lawyer Today

If you are facing an assault charge, it is important to retain an experienced, resourceful defense attorney. Jason English knows that your life and freedoms literally depend on his capabilities in and outside the courtroom. Contact Jason English today at 512-454-7548 or online for an initial consultation.

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