At Varghese Summersett, we have a reputation as one of the best assault defense firms in North Texas – and for good reason. We have exceptional results defending assault cases.
So what’s our strategy? We get out in front of the case fast – and leave no stone unturned when looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Types of Assault in Texas
Assault can be charged in many different ways in Dallas.
Assault by Contact
Assault by Contact in Dallas is an allegation of an offensive touching. This is a Class C misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to a $500 fine. If you pay the fine, that will be a permanent conviction on your record.
Assault Causing Bodily Injury
Assault Bodily Injury in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Assault Causing Bodily Injury – Family Violence
This is sometimes called Assault Bodily Injury – Family Violence or Assault Bodily Injury – Family Member. This is the same level offense as Assault Bodily Injury, but has further collateral consequences – such as being a crime of moral turpitude and having more significant immigration and naturalization consequences.
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a more severe form of assault charge. In the context of Texas law, aggravated assault occurs when a person commits an assault and either causes serious bodily injury to another person, including their spouse, or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
Punishment for Assault in Texas
The penalties for different types of assault charges in Texas vary depending on the severity of the offense:
Class A misdemeanor
Assault is generally considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500.
Assault can be elevated to a third-degree felony if the offense is committed against a public servant, a family member, a security officer, or emergency services personnel. A third-degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Under certain circumstances, a third-degree felony assault charge can be raised to a second-degree charge. This carries a penalty of 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated assault can result in a first-degree felony charge in specific situations, such as using a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and causing serious bodily injury to a family member. A first-degree felony can lead to a prison sentence of 5 years to life.
Defenses to Assault Charges
Varghese Summersett’s team of skilled attorneys can help evaluate your case and develop an effective defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. Check out this video by Dallas Assault Lawyer Benson Varghese discuss ways to get an assault charge dismissed in Texas.
Some common defenses used in assault cases include:
This defense asserts that the accused acted to protect themselves or another person from imminent harm. To successfully claim self-defense, the accused must show that they had a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to defend themselves or someone else from an immediate threat. Additionally, the level of force used in self-defense must be proportional to the perceived threat.
This defense argues that the alleged victim gave their consent to the physical contact or activity, which means the accused did not commit a crime. Consent must be freely given and can be withdrawn at any time. However, proving consent can be challenging, as it often comes down to the word of the accused versus the alleged victim.
This defense claims that the accused’s actions were legally justified, such as a police officer using reasonable force during an arrest or a parent disciplining a child within legal boundaries. The privilege defense is based on the idea that certain actions are allowed under specific circumstances and do not constitute a crime.
4. Mistake of law or fact
This defense asserts that the accused did not have the required intent for the offense because they were mistaken about a fact or the law. This defense can be used when the accused genuinely believed their actions were legal or based on incorrect information, and thus lacked criminal intent.
5. Statute of limitations
This defense argues that the time period for filing charges has expired, and therefore, the accused cannot be prosecuted. Statutes of limitations vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of crime. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the accused can no longer be charged for the alleged crime.
In certain cases, the defendant’s age may be a factor in determining criminal responsibility. For example, children below a certain age are generally considered to be incapable of forming criminal intent. The age at which a person can be held criminally responsible varies by jurisdiction.
This defense presents evidence that the defendant was legally insane at the time of the offense, and therefore, should not be held responsible for their actions. To successfully claim insanity, the defense must prove that the accused was suffering from a mental disorder that rendered them incapable of understanding the nature of their actions or distinguishing right from wrong. Insanity defenses are often challenging to prove and may require expert testimony from mental health professionals.
Mental State for Assault Charges in Texas
A person can be charged with assault under various circumstances, such as:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical injury to another person
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with physical injury
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person with the intent to offend or provoke