There is a wide range of criminal charges that fit under the heading of “assault and battery,” all of which are taken extremely seriously by law enforcement officers. While a conviction of any of these charges can be severe, the penalties are often extremely serious, as assault and battery charges are frequently combined with other criminal charges, including domestic abuse, alcohol- or drug-related charges, and weapons-possession charges.
Not only can a conviction result in significant court-ordered penalties, such as probation, fines, and jail time, but those convicted of assault and battery may also find their lives affected in other ways even after they have completed a court-ordered sentence. The stigma that often accompanies these charges can damage one's personal and professional reputation, and significantly limit educational and professional opportunities in the future. Attorney Watkins understands the full effects that a conviction for assault and/or battery can have on your life, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of people like you in the face of such significant charges. Call Attorney Watkins at (214) 845-7007 today.
Types of Assault and Battery Cases
While people often think of assault and battery as one criminal charge, these are actually two separate criminal charges that carry very different penalties for conviction. The charges you face will depend on the circumstances surrounding the offense. There are varying degrees of assault, some more serious than others. Whether you're facing a misdemeanor or felony, you deserve representation from a qualified and experienced Dallas assault defense attorney.
According to Texas Penal Code § 22.01, assault is knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causing another person bodily injury, including their spouse; knowingly or intentionally threatening someone with bodily injury, including their spouse; or knowingly or intentionally engaging in physical contact with another even though they knew or should have known that the person would consider it provocative or offensive. Battery involves actual harm caused by physical contact.
Six classifications of assault arise when a person:
- Threatens or causes offensive physical contact with another.
- Commits an assault against another person while participating in a sporting event as a form of retaliation.
- Causes bodily injury with no other factors involved.
- Knowingly assaults a public servant who's performing their official duties, a government employee, a member of your family or household, or emergency personnel.
- Commits assault against a spouse, partner, or another family member.
- Aggravated assault involves using a weapon during the assault or inflicting serious injury.
Under the umbrella of assault and battery are several other criminal offenses, including:
- Rape and Sexual Assault
- Domestic Violence
- Manslaughter and Vehicular Manslaughter
- Intoxication Manslaughter
- Negligence Homicide
- Murder / Homicide
- Felony Weapons Charges
Charges as serious as these are often prosecuted aggressively, and without an experienced attorney fighting on your side, you may find yourself facing unfair treatment and an infringement on your rights and freedoms. As such, if you are facing any of these or other assault or battery charges, take action today, and contact Attorney Watkins today. You should not have to go through this traumatic experience alone. We will remain by your side until the very end and help you through the stressful and overwhelming legal process.
Texas Penalties for Assault and Battery Convictions
The consequences you might face if you're convicted of assault and battery are serious. You could end up paying expensive fines and serving a prison sentence. The punishment you receive could depend on various factors, such as:
- Type of assault committed
- The severity of the offense
- Whether bodily injury or death occurred
- If you used any weapons during the crime
- Your criminal history
Below are the different penalties associated with each type of offense:
There are three different classifications of misdemeanors with varying penalties.
- Class C – No jail time and a maximum of a $500 fine.
- Class B – Up to 180 days in jail and a maximum of a $2,000 fine.
- Class A – Up to one year in jail and a maximum of a $4,000 fine.
Varying degrees of felonies and punishments depend on the aggravating circumstances of the offense.
- Third-degree – Discharging of a firearm, harassment of a public servant, or terroristic threats. Two to ten years in jail and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
- Second-degree – Sexual assault or domestic violence. Two to twenty years in state prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
- Third-degree – Aggravated sexual assault or aggravated assault with a weapon. Five years to life in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
When you're facing a possible prison sentence, you should have an experienced assault defense attorney on your side. The criminal penalties aren't the only consequences you could suffer. You could also lose your job, ruin your reputation, and face daily challenges upon your release from jail. You might have a difficult time finding a new job or applying for college.
Defenses We Might Use Against Your Assault and Battery Charge
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you're guilty of the offense. If they can't show sufficient evidence that you committed the alleged crime, your case might not go to trial.
We could try to negotiate a plea agreement to reduce the charge and ensure you receive a more lenient sentence. For example, instead of jail time, we could negotiate for probation or community service.
However, if the prosecutor can bring the case to court, there are some defenses we might be able to use depending on the circumstances of the offense. They include:
- The alleged crime didn't cause actual physical injury.
- The assault didn't cause the victim's injuries.
- You didn't know that the victim would take the offense as provocative or offensive.
- You had no way of knowing that the victim was an officer, public servant, or another important figure.
- You committed the actions in self-defense.
- There was no reasonable way for the victim to believe the threat or that you would follow through with it.
- The victim wrongly identified you as the perpetrator.
- You were acting under coercion or duress to commit the crime.