A conviction for assault in Texas can mean much more than a fine and a slap on the wrist. Professionals risk the possibility of losing their occupational license and their prospects for future employment opportunities. Many professionals who are facing these types of charges wonder about the impact of a Texas assault conviction on a professional license and either current or future employment. The experienced criminal defense attorney at Jason English Law can discuss your legal rights and options when you schedule a confidential consultation by calling (512) 454-7548.
Types of Assault Offenses in Texas
In Texas, there are a variety of criminal assault offenses. These offenses are described in Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code and include:
- Class C misdemeanor assault – This is the most standard type of assault charge in Texas and is filed when the assault does not cause bodily injury or involve certain types of victims. A person commits this offense if they knowingly cause physical contact with another person that a reasonable person would deem offensive.
- Assault causing bodily injury –This offense occurs when the assault causes the victim to suffer pain, illness, or impairment. It is charged as a Class A misdemeanor.
- Assault on a public servant – This offense involves the same criteria as other assaults, but it is charged more heavily because the victim is a peace officer. It is charged as a third-degree felony with a punishment range of two to ten years.
- Aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury –This offense is usually charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by between two and 20 years imprisonment. It is charged when the bodily injury creates serious permanent disfigurement, prolonged loss or impairment of a bodily function, or a substantial risk of death.
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon – This offense is charged when a person uses or shows a deadly weapon during the assault. It is usually charged as a second-degree felony, punishable up to 20 years imprisonment.
- Injury to a child, an elderly person, or disabled person – This offense occurs when the victim is a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual and is generally charged as a third-degree felony or higher offense.
Possible Consequences of an Assault Conviction
In addition to criminal penalties like imprisonment and fines, an assault conviction can result in other consequences, such as:
- Loss of a job – Because Texas is an at-will employment state, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason. Additionally, employers can generally refuse to hire applicants because of a criminal conviction. Assault is often considered a violent offense. Many employers may not want to take a chance on someone with a criminal record.
- Jeopardization of immigration status – Likewise, a person can be removed from the country if they are not a United States citizen after conviction of a violent offense.
- Loss of civil rights – A criminal conviction could result in the loss of civil liberties, including the right to vote in an election, serve on a jury, hold public office, or bear arms.
- Difficulty obtaining housing – Texas landlords can conduct background checks on applicants and can generally refuse to rent to someone who has an assault conviction.
- Loss of family rights – An assault conviction could also result in the loss of custody or visitation, especially if the victim was the child or witnessed the assault.
- Professional license consequences – The licensing authority may be able to take adverse action against a person's professional license that prevents them from working in the same profession.
Professional Licensing Board's Power Over Licenses
Texas Occupations Code § 53.021 gives licensing authorities the right to take adverse action against people who hold or apply for an occupational license if they are convicted of certain criminal offenses. Such actions include:
- Suspending a professional license
- Revoking a professional license
- Disqualifying an applicant from receiving a professional license
- Denying an applicant the opportunity to take a professional licensing exam
These consequences can befall an applicant or professional license holder who is convicted of various types of criminal offenses, including a sexually violent offense, an offense that was committed less than five years before an applicant applies for the license, assault to an elderly person, child, or disabled individual, or an offense that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation in question.
Professions Governed by Professional Licensing Boards
There are many professions in Texas that are governed by professional licensing board, including:
- Real estate agents
- Funeral directors
- Athletic trainers
- Investment advisors
- Land surveyors
- Law enforcement officers
- Nurse's aides
- Insurance agents
- Childcare administrators
- Massage therapists
- Emergency medical technicians
- Tax professionals
- Security guards
- Social workers
Potential Impact of a Texas Assault Conviction on a Professional License and Employment
Any conviction above a Class C misdemeanor can result in the denial of a new or a renewal license application or the revocation or suspension of an occupational license. Before denying an application, Texas Occupations Code § 53.021 generally requires the licensing board to consider whether the offense relates to the license by reviewing:
- The nature and seriousness of the offense
- The relationship of the offense to the purpose for requiring a license for the occupation
- Whether the license may provide an opportunity for the licensee to engage in further criminal activity
- The relationship between the offense and the ability for the licensee to fulfill the duties required of the licensed occupation
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can represent an applicant or licensee before a professional board as part of the investigative process. Jason English Law can help build an argument to retain the license based on factors in favor of the licensee. Additionally, they can point to other favorable factors, such as the time that has elapsed since the commission of the offense, the licensee's conduct, attempts at rehabilitation, and other persuasive circumstances.
Contact Jason English Law to Learn More About Protecting Your Professional License After a Texas Assault Conviction
If you are facing criminal assault charges and have concerns regarding the potential impact of a Texas assault conviction on a professional license or employment, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Jason English Law. We understand that you are facing overwhelming charges and can help you understand all of your legal rights and options. Contact our legal team to schedule your appointment today at (512) 454-7548.