Criminal Defense Attorney
A person commits an offense if the person does one of three acts. First, he intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse, second, he intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including a person’s spouse; or third, he 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.
Most Assault offenses are going to fall under the first category. Generally, this is a Class A misdemeanor offense. The possible punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is up to 365 days in county jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine. However there are circumstances where a bodily injury offense can result in a felony charge.
A charge becomes a third degree felony if an offense is committed against present or former dating partner, family member or members of the household and the person accused has previously been convicted of an offense (against same category of person) under Chapter 22 (Assault, Aggravated Assault, ect., under Chapter 19 (Murder, Manslaughter, ect.), Kidnapping, Aggravated Kidnapping, Indecency with a Child or Continuous Family Violence. The previous conviction does not have to be against the same person named in the current charge.
An offense may also be charged as a third degree felony, even for a first time offense, if the Assault is committed by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood to the victim’s throat or neck or by blocking the victim’s nose or mouth. These are commonly known as choking or smothering cases.
But the possible punishment enhancement levels for an Assault offense do not stop here. An offense can be charged as a second degree felony if it involves a dating partner, family member or household member and the accused has been previously convicted for an offense (against same category of persons) under Chapter 22 Penal Code, under Chapter 19 Penal Code, Kidnapping, Aggravated Kidnapping, Indecency with a Child or Continuous Family Violence and the current offense involves choking or smothering the alleged victim.
It is also important to note that the definition of “conviction” has a broader meaning when it concerns a family violence offense. A conviction includes deferred adjudication probation and pleas of no contest. Additionally, a conviction under the laws of another state which contains elements that are substantially similar to the Texas assault statute may be used to enhance a Texas assault offense.