Assault & Aggravated Assault

What is Assault?

In Texas, Assault is when a person intentionally or knowingly (or recklessly or threatening) touches or threatens to touch a person in an unwanted or offensive manner. Obviously the statute is more complex than that, but for general purposes, Assault is the unlawful touching of another person. It can be a tap, slap, punch, or stab. Assault includes hitting with objects and weapons, and includes gunshots.

In many states, Assault and Battery are separate offenses, but in Texas, Assault and Battery are combined within one offense. So the act of threatening to hit (swinging a bat and missing a person) is still a criminal offense under Assault.

You can read the specific Statute below, and also see a list of the Punishments for Assault.

Closely Related Assault Offenses

There is the most basic assaultive offense, Assault,is the one you're reading about here. But if the person being assaulted is a family member or in a (past or present) dating relationship, then the offense can fall under a subcategory of Assault, which is Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence.

At the felony level, there is a similar offense if the person has a prior assault family violence (or related) on their record, which is Assault Causes Bodily Injury Dating, Family, Household Member.

Lastly, if there is the allegation of a person using thier hands on the other person's throat, the case is enhanced to a 3rd Degree Felony, Assault by Strangulation. This charge is also known as Assault Intentionally or Recklessly Impede Breath Circulation

A Full List of Assault Offenses can be found below, or by clicking Assault Offenses in Texas.

What You Need To Know

Assault is one of the most numerous types of offenses in Travis County, second only to DWI. Assaults are fully prosecuted by the State, and they generally have a great reluctance to dismiss cases. There are several key defense tasks that should be addressed quickly after being arrested, such as Affidavits for NonProsecution, and obtaining 911 calls, dispatch logs, and even videos. Most commercial video recordings (sich as those at gas stations, apartment complexes, and department stores) are destroyed if not requested quickly.

If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.

Serious Bodily Injury in Assault Cases

Bodily Injury is one of the most misleading terms in criminal law -- at least in the assault arena. It's a common misconception that bodily injury requires a visible injury, or sometimes even blood. However, the legal definition in texas of Bodily Injury includes mere physical pain.

Meaning a person can be charged with Assault with Bodily Injury, for an assault that only produced pain. And of course, most times your hit with anything, it causes some amount of pain. The officer merely needs to ask "did it hurt?" and if the answer is "yes", then the Assault becomes Assault with Bodily Injury, a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

In Texas there is also serious bodily injury, which means bodily injury that ???creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.???

Jail Release and Bond for Assault

Assault cases above a Class C level always results in being taken to jail. Once at the jail, a person is at the mercy of the Judge to set a reasonable bond amount, or grant a personal bond. A Judge can also set bond conditions that include Stay Away orders, and Emergency or Temporary Protective Orders preventing contact, and sometimes even returning home.

Sometimes an officer will file arrest warrant, which will require a Walkthrough to clear the Arrest Warrant. Doing a Walkthrough quickly is important, because most of the time a person does not go into the jail during the surrender process.

Legislative Update 2021: Senate Bill 6 Passed. Senate Bill 6, passed in the legislature in 2021, drastically altered the availability of personal bonds in the criminal justice system. As a reminder, a personal bond is a release from jail by the court without needing to pay for it. Senate Bill 6, specifically Art. A17.027, mainly prohibits a new Judge from releasing a person on a personal bond if that person was re-arrested while out on bond for certain offenses. In other words, a situation where a person was already released on bond, and that case is still pending -- and then they are arrested on a new (usually violent) charge. In that situation, the original Judge (the one presiding over the first arrest) has control over personal bonds, to an extent. This is a newly evolving statute and law, and only certain offenses apply, so call us if you or your loved one has been either re-arrested or has a warrant while already on bond with a pending case.

Call us for more details if you have an Active Travis County Arrest Warrant.

Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.

Defenses for Assault

Self Defense is the most common defense to assault. Self defense usually involves only using force after another person uses force. Simply put: The other person started it. Self defense may apply to a large number of assault cases, although the defense must be appropriate in relation to the initial assault by the other person.

Other defenses may include Fabrication, which often includes Motives to Lie in family assault cases. Often there is a financial motive to make up an assault, or an unrelated family court issue that may present a motive to lie.

Work with an Experienced Assault Attorney

Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Assault cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.

Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.

While not every case can be dismissed, often times the goal becomes avoiding jail, or getting a reduced charge, or even getting a favorable probation with a possible dismissal at the end, called Deferred Adjudication. If dismissed, a person can later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.

Benefits of Working with Keates Law Firm:

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Our Reviews and Results

Our Results Speak for Themselves. Keates Law Firm has a record of Dismissals and Acquittals in a variety of criminal cases. We are dismissal focused, and we get results.
  • DWI Jury Trial: NOT GUILTY
  • Harassment Offense: Jury Trial: NOT GUILTY
  • Felony Possession of Marijuana/Hashish Dismissed
  • DWI 2nd (Drugs): Dismissed
  • DWI (Alcohol and Drugs): Dismissed
  • Felony Theft of Stolen Property: Dismissed
  • Assault, Bodily Injury: Jury Trial: NOT GUILTY
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Payment Plans

Legal Fees are typically unexpected, so Keates Law Firm realizes that most people don't have thousands of dollars immediatly available after an unexpected arrest. Keates Law Firm offers no interest Payment Plans for legal fees for cases in Austin, Travis County. Most Payment Plans require a credit or debit card on file, with a deposit for representation. Attorney Payment Plans are paid monthly with no interest. Payment Plan Lawyers in Austin, Travis County are few, but Keates Law Firm has had success and many happy clients who appreciate spreading out legal fees over payments. Check out our Austin Attorney Payment Plans page for more details, or call for a Free Consultation.

Aggravated Assault

Unlike the Assault offenses described above, there is a far more serious type of charge, called Aggravated Assault, most commonly charged as a 2nd degree felony. Sometimes, Aggravated Assault can be charged as a 1st Degree Felony, with penalties for convictions ranging from $10,000+ fines and prison between 2 years to life.

There are several key factors that prosecutors use to decide whether to pursue Aggravated Assault Charges. Some of the factors include whether the alleged victim was a public servant or security officer, whether a weapon was used, and the criminal history of the accused.

Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon

Aggravated Assault is a more serious offense when a weapon is used. And so, Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon offenses are usually a 2nd Degree Felony. But, sometimes, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon can be charged as a 1st Degree Felony, meaning $10,000+ fines and prison between 2 years to life.

The statute contains two subsections that must be present for anAggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon charge: serious bodily injury to another; or use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault. This means that merely holding a weapon, but not using it during the assault itself, could still be considered Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon.

The Law in Texas on Assault

Sec. 22.01. ASSAULT.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse; (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or (3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

What are the Punishments?

Assaults can be punished as a Misdemeanor or Felony, and can range from fines, probation, county jail, state jail, and even prison.

Penalties for Assault
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines
Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines
State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail, and/or no more than $10,000 fines
3rd Degree Felony 2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines

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