Did you know that you can be charged and convicted of assault without ever laying a hand on another person?
The statutory definition of assault in Texas is as follows:
“A person commits an offense if the person:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse;
- 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.”
Depending on the type of assault that occurs, the perpetrator may face different types of charges and fines. It is a Class C misdemeanor to threaten someone with bodily harm or to cause physical contact in a provocative or offensive way, as long as no other aggravating factors are present. It is a Class B misdemeanor to assault someone who is a sports participant during a performance or in retaliation for one. It is a Class A misdemeanor to cause injury to another person with no aggravating factors present, or to cause provocative or offensive physical contact to an elderly person.
Assaults can also be felonies. If you assault a public servant, a family member or other member of your household, a person you are dating, a security officer or an emergency responder, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. If it is your second offense, it could be a second-degree felony. If the assault is aggravated, it is a first-degree felony. Aggravating factors include serious injury or the use of a weapon during the assault.