Currently, an assault against a pregnant woman carries the same penalties as an assault against other persons. The only exception was for individuals who targeted pregnant women to induce them to have abortions, which results in enhanced charges. Both situations result in Class A misdemeanor assault charges that carry the potential for up to one year in jail. As of September 1, 2019, however, the penalties will increase for those who knowingly assault pregnant women.
Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 902 into law. Under this law, individuals who assault women whom they know or should have known were pregnant at the time of the assault can face third-degree felony charges. The penalties for a third-degree felony conviction can include a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years.
The new enhancement to the assault statute for pregnant women closely tracks enhancements already existing in the assault law for certain classes of people who are the targets of an assault. For example, assault against public servants engaged in their official duties elevates the charge to a third-degree felony. Other classes of individuals that can trigger enhanced assault charges include:
- Family and household members in some circumstances
- Government contractors working in correctional facilities
- Security officers
- Emergency services personnel
Enhanced assault charges also apply to individuals who are committed to civil commitment facilities when they assault officers, employees, or contractors who work at the facilities. Other groups of people whose assault can result in enhanced charges include judges, peace officers, elderly or disabled persons, and sports participants, in some circumstances.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to assisting individuals in resolving their criminal charges. We know that criminal proceedings can be intimidating and overwhelming for those who are facing potential penalties for criminal charges. We will work with you to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.