Texas law distinguishes between different types of assault charges—some are more or less severe than others.
According to the Texas Penal Code (Section 22), a person has committed assault when he or she:
- Intentionally and knowingly threatens to inflict immediate bodily harm to another person (including a spouse), causing that person to reasonably fear for their safety,
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person (including a spouse),
- Or intentionally and knowingly physically contacts a person in a way that would reasonably be regarded as offensive contact.
Such acts are considered Class A misdemeanors, which can result in jail sentences of up to one year, along with fines that can reach up to $4,000.
An assault charge can become more serious when there are certain “aggravating” factors in play:
- Not only did he or she cause bodily injury (as stated above), but the injury (or injuries) are serious, causing the struck person to lose some use of a body part.
- A deadly weapon was either displayed in a threatening manner or was actually used to harm another person. (The definition of “deadly weapon” can vary widely, depending on the circumstances.)
Aggravated assault charges are considered second degree felonies, which can mean 2-20 years in prison, in addition to fines up to $10,000.