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Assault and Battery

Houston Assault and Battery Attorney

According to Texas law, the charge commonly known as “assault and battery” is actually simply known as assault. Under the common definition, there is a distinction between assault and battery in that assault is merely intentional threats of violence, while battery is the actual infliction of violence upon a victim; in Texas’s definition of the crime, however, the two terms are combined.

Regardless of the state of the definition in Texas, being charged with assault can be a serious matter. In addition to charges ranging from Class C misdemeanors to second-degree felonies, you could also be facing a civil lawsuit from your alleged victim for any damages they incurred. With such potential for a serious sentence, it is important that you seek an attorney to help you fight the charges placed against you.

Houston Assault and Battery Attorney

Matt Horak is a criminal defense attorney in Houston with offices conveniently located on Montrose and in The Woodlands. In the event that you have been charged with assault, seeking the advice of an attorney who knows both sides of the criminal trial system can mean all the difference in your case.

Contact Horak Law today by calling (713) 225-8000 or using the online case evaluation form to schedule an evaluation of your case.

Assault and Battery Information Center

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Assault Defined

Under the Texas Penal Code §22.01, assault has a somewhat broad definition that can encompass a wide variety of situations. In an assault case, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  • intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused physical harm to another person,
  • intentionally or knowingly threatened someone else with physical injury, or
  • touched another person in a way the defendant knew would be considered offensive or provocative.

In cases involving actual physical harm delivered to another person, it is usually considered a Class A misdemeanor. Under more serious circumstances, such as if the offense is committed against a public servant, government official, police officer, or emergency services personnel, the offense could be considered a third-degree felony. Repeat assault charges involving strangulation or choking of a significant other or family member could be tried as third or second-degree felonies.

If the assault charge involves mere threats or provocative contact, the charge will likely be a Class C misdemeanor. However, threatening or offensively contacting an elderly or disabled person is a Class A misdemeanor, while assaulting an athlete or other sports official is a Class B misdemeanor.

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Defenses to Assault

Given the above definition and charges for assault, there are a few strategies that can be helpful in arguing your case. Employing these strategies can reduce a felony assault charge to a minor misdemeanor or have the charges dropped completely. Some of the defenses to assault include:

  • No physical injury was inflicted
  • The victim’s injuries weren’t a result of the alleged assault actions
  • The defendant had no way of knowing or reasonably believing the alleged action would be considered offensive or provocative
  • There was no way for the defendant to know the victim was a public servant, official, officer, or other important figure
  • The actions were committed in self-defense
  • The alleged victim consented to the behavior through employment, medical treatment, scientific experimentation (Texas Penal Code, §22.06)

It is important to know what strategies work well in your case and which ones to avoid. The prosecution will be relentlessly trying to prove your guilt, so making your argument as strong as possible is absolutely necessary to avoid potentially serious criminal charges. Contact a criminal defense attorney today if you have been charged with assault in the greater Houston area.

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Aggravated Assault

In some cases of assault, the alleged actions are serious enough to warrant an entirely new charge. Aggravated assault is essentially assault that causes serious bodily harm or attacks committed with a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault charges are typically second-degree felonies under Texas Penal Code §22.02(b), barring a few choice circumstances.

A charge of aggravated assault is considered a first-degree felony if:

  • a deadly weapon is used against a family member, significant other, or other household member,
  • a public servant commits assault while representing their organization,
  • the defendant attacks a police officer while the officer is performing official duties,
  • an individual attacks someone in retaliation for providing information or being a witness,
  • the attack is against an on-duty security officer, or
  • the charge is drive-by shooting.

The penalties you could be facing in an aggravated assault case are very serious, with the minimum being a second-degree felony. It’s imperative that you take action as quickly as possible to avoid facing serious sentencing. An experienced Houston criminal attorney can help you have the charges reduced to simple assault or, under certain circumstances, dropped altogether.

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Deadly Conduct

Assaultive behavior isn’t only limited to the act of physical harm or threats directed at another. Even reckless behavior performed without explicit intent to harm someone can be considered a serious offense if it places others in situations that are potentially dangerous.

According to the Texas Penal Code, §22.05, deadly conduct that places others in imminent danger of serious bodily harm is considered a class A misdemeanor. Deadly conduct of this type includes brandishing a loaded weapon in public, though the definition is quite broad. Reckless and dangerous behavior or any type could fall under the category of deadly conduct.

A more serious charge of deadly conduct involves firing a weapon in public with reckless regard to the direction of the shot. Shooting a gun at a building or vehicle that hasn’t been checked for occupants is considered deadly conduct, as is firing a gun in the general direction of any people. Deadly conduct involving discharged firearms is considered a third-degree felony.

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Assault and Battery Resources

Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Section 22: Assaultive Offenses – Legal distinctions regarding all of the assaultive charges listed above

Texas Penal Code, Title 3, Section 12: Punishments – Descriptions of the various punishments allowed for varying seriousness of crimes

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Horak Law | Houston Assault and Battery Lawyer

Attorney Matt Horak understands that the charges you’re facing could have serious implications on your prospects for the future. A conviction for a violent crime could limit your options in almost everything you face, especially if the charge is for felony assault.

Taking action by consulting with an attorney is the best option to reduce the potential damage you may incur from a criminal prosecution. Contact Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 or use the online case evaluation form to schedule an evaluation of your case.

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  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Criminal Law
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Matt Horak has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer Legion