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Disagreements can quickly escalate to a situation where a person is taken to jail because of false or misleading accusations of assault. Nine times out of ten, there is always more to the story. You will likely not get a fair shake fighting the charge alone, but working with a dedicated criminal defense attorney could help you succeed in court.

When you have been charged with assault, a Fort Worth assault lawyer could get you a fair sentence by working to dismiss or reduce your overall charges or sentence.

Differences Between Simple and Aggravated Assault

Texas Penal Code § 22.01 defines the categories of simple and aggravated assault. As the words imply, the actions constituting the offense of simple assault are not as intense as aggravated assault, and neither are the penalties.

Simple assaults are actions that place a person in reasonable imminent fear physical contact will occur or the actual happening of unsolicited or offensive physical contact. For example, a boyfriend or girlfriend threatening to hit a partner constitutes simple assault even when the action does not happen. A scenario where someone punches another, resulting in a black eye, is also simple assault under state law.

Aggravated assault has the same basic definition as simple, however, the charges can be raised to aggravated assault when the person who is assaulted falls into one of the following categories:

  • Police officer
  • Elderly person
  • Family member
  • Sporting official
  • Disabled person
  • Public official or government worker

When an officer attempts to arrest a person for simple assault, it can quickly become aggravated when the person assaults or threatens to harm the police officer.

Any action restricting a spouse or family member’s blood flow or restricting their breathing is aggravated assault. This is also true when someone does the same to a friend or stranger.

A Fort Worth assault defense attorney could clarify whether a situation is simple or aggravated assault.

Common Defenses to An Assault Charge

A defense lawyer could effectively argue reasons for the dismissal or reduction of a charge, for example, the situation of concern lacks the requisite degree of intent.

An attorney could also say the conduct was not offensive or unwanted because the incident was a fight where both parties willingly engaged in physical contact in which they both sustained injuries.

Furthermore, there are situations where a person is falsely accused due to mistaken identity. The lawyer could present clear evidence showing the person of concern was not in the vicinity of the area where the alleged assault took place.

A Fort Worth assault lawyer could also present documentation showing the alleged threats were fictional.

Classification of Assault as Misdemeanor or Felony

Misdemeanor assault has three classifications and typically refers to acts falling under the category of simple assault. For an action to be classified as class A, there must be bodily injury, although causing a disabled or older adult to fear physical contact will occur is class A misdemeanor assault.

A class B misdemeanor is assaulting a sporting official or between athletes, and Class C refers to any offensive touching. The penalties for simple assault can range from $500 to $4,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year.

Any use of a weapon is a third-degree felony assault, and making threats of a terroristic nature constitutes an act of harassment of public officials. Second-degree felony assault is any conduct against a domestic partner or family member, or any action seen as sexual assault.

First-degree felony assault is threatening to use a weapon or threatening to commit sexual assault on a person. Penalties for a felony range from two to 20 years and fines up to $10,000.

A Forth Worth assault lawyer could explain these distinctions in depth or try to get a more severe charge labeled with a lower class.

Contact an Assault Attorney in Fort Worth

Criminal defense attorneys are legal specialists in both negotiations and litigation who could negotiate a favorable plea deal, dismiss charges, or win a jury trial. Your case comes with unique circumstances, and a lawyer could argue for an outcome that takes those circumstances into consideration.

For specific advice regarding pending criminal assault charges, contact our office to speak with a Fort Worth assault lawyer.