Assault offenses in Texas are among the most commonly-committed violent crimes in the Lone Star State. People who have otherwise maintained positive reputations and avoided legal issues may find themselves facing allegations of assault for a situation in which they did not perceive their actions as criminal.
Many people feel very surprised when they learn that the Texas assault statute actually has three separate types of behaviors that may lead to assault charges. Charges related to each allegation tend to require a different, thoughtful defense strategy.
1. Intentionally causing physical harm to another
The first and arguably best-known definition of assault involves causing injury to another person, often through direct physical contact. Shoving someone down the stairs or punching them in the face would constitute assault. There is no requirement that such actions lead to death or debilitating injury for the state to pursue charges.
2. Making credible threats
Texas prosecutors can also bring assault charges against individuals for things they say or even their body language during an interaction with another person. Exaggerated, threats made on social media might also lead to allegations of assault, provided that the other party and the police view the threat as credible. Putting someone else in a state of reasonable fear for their physical safety is potentially assault under Texas law. Threatening someone’s spouse also falls under this definition.
3. Offending with unwanted physical contact
The decision to touch someone without their permission doesn’t need to make them afraid or cause them injury to violate state law. It is also an assault offense for someone to touch another person in a manner that they know will be offensive. Touching someone in a suggestive manner or in a way that may violate tenants of their religion would potentially constitute assault.
The impact of the situation, someone’s previous record and even the identity of the alleged victim can all influence the exact charges and penalties someone faces. With so many different factors in play, the best defense strategy will vary drastically depending on the nature of someone’s current circumstances. Reviewing the evidence that the state has with the assistance of a legal professional is often an important step for those hoping to fight back against pending assault charges.