Is There a Difference Between Assault and Battery in Austin, Texas?
You may be familiar with the phrase “assault and battery” and be wondering, “Is there a difference between assault and battery in Austin, Texas?” In some states, assault is threatening someone with harm or may constitute actual contact of some sort, while battery usually indicates actual intended physical harm that has been done to another.
In the Texas Penal Codes, the state uses the term “assault” to cover all levels of these types of charges. This means that in Texas, what would be considered battery in other states would be charged as a form of assault instead.
According to the Texas Department of Safety, there were 65,338 aggravated assaults in Texas in 2014. Whether you were falsely accused of assault, were acting in self-defense, or the heat of the moment got the better of you, being charged with a violent crime can impact the rest of your life, and it’s wise to learn your rights and attempt to reduce any charges against you.
An Austin assault lawyer from Tillman Braniff can investigate your case, build a strong defense, and help you bring your case to the best solution possible for your unique situation.
What Constitutes Assault?
The Texas Penal Code lists assault under the following conditions in Sec. 22.01.
An individual commits assault if the person does any of the following:
- 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 individual will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
There are numerous distinctions and caveats that can raise the severity of the crime from a misdemeanor class to a felony charge. These can depend on who the victim is (a victim who is elderly, disabled, or very young carries a more severe penalty). As does an attack on a public servant or safety official (such as a firefighter, police officer, or security guard) and whether a deadly weapon was used. Repeat offenses in domestic violence can carry increasingly severe penalties as well.
Standard Levels of Punishment in Texas State Law
Below are the general levels of assault penalties listed from the least to most severe. You can see how reducing the severity of your charge can save you from higher fines and prison time. A skilled Austin assault lawyer from our firm will know the ins and outs of the Texas legal system and can improve your situation’s outlook.
- Class C: Maximum fine of $500
- Class B: Maximum fine of $2,000 with incarceration of up to 180 days
- Class A: Maximum fine of $4,000 with incarceration of up to one year
All felony assault charges except for capital offenses carry a maximum fine of $10,000, with prison time:
- 3rd Degree: Two to ten years in prison
- 2nd Degree: Two to twenty years in prison
- 1st Degree: Five to ninety-nine years in prison
- Capital Offense: Life sentence with the possibility of the death penalty
Moving Forward from Your Assault Charge
While criminal assault charges are very serious, they do not necessarily mean you will face a conviction. At Tillman Braniff, we always do everything possible when building and presenting every one of our cases. We bring decades of combined experience to the courtroom and always have our clients’ best interests in mind.
All hope is not lost—even the most serious charges can sometimes be reduced depending on the support behind you. How you handle things now is vital. Get an experienced Austin assault lawyer on your case by calling us at 512-236-0505 or submitting our contact form at the bottom of this page.