Dallas Lawyer For Assault Defense
Dallas Lawyer For Assault Defense On Dealing With Felony Assault In Texas
A Dallas lawyer for assault defense can help shed light on the intricacies of a felony assault charge in Texas. If you have been charged with assault, make sure to find a competent defense lawyer to help you with your case.
Definition Of Assault In Texas As Per The Texas Penal Code
All types of Assault fall under the statutory definition in the Texas Penal Code: 22.01. Generally, a person is guilty of assault if they intentionally or recklessly cause bodily injury, threaten imminent bodily injury, or cause offensive or provocative physical contact.
As per the above definition, assault is classified as a Class C, B, or A misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanor assault is the least severe and usually involves threats only. Class B involves victims who are officials i.e., a referee at a match being threatened, contacted provocatively, or offensively for their conduct during a match. Class A involves bodily contact with no aggravating factors. It also involves specific victims i.e., elderly persons being touched in an offensive or provocative way.
The above information discusses minor forms of assault. Assault in Texas escalates to a felony depending on how it takes place, the victim in question, previous defendant convictions, the presence of serious injuries, pain, etc.
a. 3rd Degree Felony Assault
The assault charge in question becomes a 3rd-degree felony in specific circumstances. For instance, if the offense meets the definition of assault in Texas and the victim is an emergency services worker assaulted while on duty (when providing emergency services), the resulting charge will most likely be a 3rd-degree felony charge.
The same applies to victims who are security officers, and the perpetrator is aware that they are a security officer doing their work.
Assaulting a public servant in Texas while they are performing their duties or because of them lawfully discharging their duties also qualifies as a 3rd-degree felony assault. Public servants should perform their duties lawfully without fear or favor. Threats and/or provocative contact is a serious offense in Texas.
Victims who work in child protective services are also protected. Assaulting such a person because they are doing their job or retaliating because of actions they take lawfully on official capacity attract a 3rd degree felony charge. For instance, you can’t threaten or initiate physical contact meant to provoke a child protective services worker if they visit you and take unfavorable action within their mandate.
A 3rd-degree felony charge can also apply when the victim of assault is a family member or household member. Assault directed at a parent, spouse, sibling, housemate, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. can attract a 3rd-degree felony charge in Texas if the perpetrator is a repeat offender. The same also applies if the offender was intentional or reckless when initiating offensive contact i.e., choking their victim.
What Are The Penalties For 3rd Degree Felony Assault Charges In Texas?
If found guilty, a perpetrator can spend a decade in prison and face a maximum fine of $10,000.
b. 2nd Degree Felony Assault In Texas
Offenses that meet the definition of assault and meet other criteria, such as offenses where the victim is a household or family member can escalate to 2nd-degree charges if the perpetrator has been previously found guilty of a similar offense. What’s more, the offense should have been committed intentionally or recklessly with other elements such as knowingly impeding their victim’s ability to breathe (choking) or applying pressure to their throat, blocking their nose or mouth.
A 2nd-degree felony assault charge can also arise from aggravated assault i.e., assault resulting in serious injuries and/or involving a deadly weapon/s.
What Are The Penalties For 2nd Degree Felony Assault Charges In Texas?
If found guilty, a perpetrator can spend between two years and two decades in prison and face a maximum fine of $10,000.
c. 1st Degree Felony Assault In Texas
First degree felony assault is the least severe type of felony assault in Texas given the jail term. 1st-degree felony charges arise if the victim and perpetrator have a domestic relationship or when the assault is directed to special persons i.e., beating up an informant or witness for incriminating you. The charge can also arise for assaulting a police officer on duty, public official, security guard, or emergency personnel.
What Are The Penalties For 1st Degree Felony Assault Charges In Texas?
If found guilty, a perpetrator can spend up to 5 years in prison. The offense also comes with a fine.
Felony Assault Defenses In Texas
How Do You Defend Yourself From Felony Assault In Texas?
Felony charges are generally challenged based on the specific facts of a case. Generally, the charges can be straightforward to complex. However, it’s imperative to approach the charges understanding the basic elements of assault charges in Texas. For instance, there shouldn’t be serious mistakes like mistaken identity if the assault involved a fight or offensive contact where many persons were present. Generally, the following defenses are used to fight felony assault charges in Texas.
Assuming you are charged with felony assault yet you were defending yourself from the alleged victim, you can claim you acted in self-defense. To prove this, you must show there was an imminent threat against you or an unlawful show of force. Accused persons should also show they didn’t provoke anyone, and they couldn’t have possibly escaped or retreated to avoid the situation. What’s more, there must be an honest fear of harm (reasonable perceived fear).
A typical example would be striking a stranger after they approach you in a threatening manner. If you strike them and getaway, you can argue you were doing so in self-defense. However, you may have a problem if you keep fighting when they are already on the ground and pose no reasonable threat.
There are many limitations in regards to self-defense, as mentioned above, there are limits to the force you are supposed to use. Most importantly, it should match the threat in question. For instance, you can’t punch a person who isn’t your physical match i.e., a person who is elderly or way smaller than you, simply because they have threatened to beat you up.
To use self-defense to fight felony assault charges successfully, you need a seasoned assault attorney who understands the Texas Penal Code extensively and has experience dealing with such cases. Situations leading to felony assault can be complex and subject to interpretation. A seasoned Dallas lawyer for assault defense understands what constitutes a successful defense.
2. Defense Of Others
If you are charged with felony assault because you were defending another person, you can claim the defense of others. This defense is similar to self-defense. The main difference is it is directed at defending others (not yourself) because the alleged victim, in this case, was at risk or feared imminent harm from another person.
Like self-defense, there should be a reasonable use of force. The grounds for taking action also need to be convincing.
Like self-defense, you need a seasoned attorney to navigate the complex nature of this defense successfully.
3. Defense Of Property
Texas law also allows people to act in certain ways when defending their property. For instance, if your property is invaded or withheld illegally, you can take certain actions to defend it. This defense can be used when fighting felony assault charges brought about by a fight that ensued when someone threatened or illegally withheld your property.
Like other defenses, you need a seasoned lawyer to successfully use the defense of property. The law is complex on the usage of force to defend property i.e., your home, car, etc. For instance, if there is a dispute regarding personal property like a car, the alleged owner can’t use force to get back the property. However, if the property was snatched from them, they may have grounds to get that property back using reasonable force.
4. Consent As A Felony Assault Defense
A felony charge can also be fought using consent as a defense if the victim had consented voluntarily to certain actions. However, if the consent was limited i.e., involved permission for certain actions, and the accused exceeded the limits of the permission, there may be a basis for assault charges. Texas courts analyze consent carefully and tend to identify harmful actions even if there was consent. For instance, consent that involves public policy violations will still be punished.
What Should I Do If I Face Felony Assault In Texas? Should I Hire A Texas Assault Attorney?
As discussed above, felony assault charges are dire. In fact, all assault charges, including misdemeanor assault charges, should be taken seriously since they can easily be escalated to more serious charges.
Considering you face up to two decades in prison for 2nd-degree felony assault, you can’t afford to face such charges without legal advice and representation, if need be. While the above assault defenses can be used successfully, they require legal expertise to stand a chance in court. There are many limitations to defenses. What’s more, there is usually a general notion that most assault victims are right. This applies mostly when the victims are regarded as “special persons” i.e., an officer on duty, an elderly person, a pregnant woman, a minor, etc.
You need a Dallas lawyer for assault defense who can articulate your case perfectly to your favor and secure a lesser sentence or have the felony assault charges dismissed.