Historically, assault and battery were two different criminal offenses that involved very different actions. Assault occurred whenever individuals did something to place others in fear of imminent harm, such as making threats to harm them. On the other hand, battery involved intentional physical contact with others that injured them.
Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01, however, establishes the single criminal offense of assault, which combines elements of both traditional assault and battery. Under this code section, individuals commit the crime of assault when they:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to others
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten others with imminent bodily injury
- Intentionally or knowingly cause physical harm to others
- Intentionally or knowingly have reasonably offensive or provocative contact with others
Texas law provides for no separate criminal offense of battery. The only battery-like offense is contained within the crime of assault.
Assault charges can range from a fine-only Class C misdemeanor charge to a felony of the first degree, depending on various factors. These factors include whether injuries occurred, the severity of any injuries, and the status of the victims. For instance, assault against a public servant in the course of carrying out his or her official duties will result in a more severe charge than an assault against others. Likewise, if the attack involves strangulation, the level of the charge also can increase.
Furthermore, aggravated assault charges may ensue under Tex. Pen. Code § 22.02 when individuals commit an assault that results in serious bodily injury or involves a deadly weapon. This offense is a second-degree felony, and it can become a first-degree felony in selected circumstances.
Assault and aggravated assault also are offenses that can arise in a domestic context, such as between spouses, family members, or significant others. Repeated assaults of a domestic nature can result in enhanced charges and penalties, depending on the situation.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.