Understanding Assault in TX

January 1, 2023 | By Shane Phelps Law
Understanding Assault in TX

Assault is a serious crime with serious consequences under Texas law. There are different kinds of assault and varying circumstances that can impact a case. Read on to learn more.

What Is Assault?

In Texas, assault is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily harm, or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

Types of Assault in Texas

Assault charges in Texas can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime.

Degrees of assault include the following:

  • Simple Assault: This is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor and occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person. It also includes threats of bodily harm or physical contact that the victim finds offensive.
  • Aggravated Assault: This type of assault, defined in Texas Penal Code Section 22.02, involves causing severe bodily injury to another person or using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault crime. Aggravated assault is typically a second-degree felony, but it can be a first-degree felony in certain situations, such as when the offense is committed against a public servant or in a drive-by shooting.
  • Domestic Assault: Domestic assault occurs when an assault is committed against a family member, household member, or a current or past dating partner. The penalties for domestic assault vary depending on whether the defendant has previous convictions for the same offense.
  • Sexual Assault: Sexual assault involves sexual penetration or contact without the other person's consent. It is a second-degree felony in Texas.

Punishments for Assault in Texas

The penalties for assault vary depending on the nature of the crime:

  • Class C Misdemeanor Simple Assault: This is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • Class A Misdemeanor Simple Assault: This can result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both.
  • Third-Degree Felony Domestic Assault: This carries a sentence of 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault and Sexual Assault: These are punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • First-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault: This can result in 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

College Sexual Assault

College sexual assault is a serious problem affecting campuses across the nation. It refers to any unwanted sexual activity that occurs without both parties' clear, informed, and voluntary consent. This issue has gained considerable attention in recent years due to its prevalence and its unique challenges to both victims and those accused.

Are College Sexual Assault Cases Different?

Sexual assault cases on college campuses differ significantly from similar cases in the broader community. The most distinctive difference lies in the adjudication process. Colleges and universities are required under Title IX, a federal law, to have procedures in place to handle allegations of sexual assault. This means that a student accused of sexual assault may face an internal investigation and disciplinary hearing conducted by the institution rather than or in addition to a criminal trial in court.

These internal proceedings often operate under different rules than the criminal justice system. For example, the standard of proof is typically lower – a preponderance of the evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt – there may be limited opportunities for cross-examination, and the accused may not have the right to legal representation during the proceedings.

Given the unique nature of college sexual assault cases, students must seek. An experienced lawyer can help navigate the complex intersection of criminal law and university policies, protect the accused person's rights, and provide guidance throughout the process.

Even if the accused has no right to legal representation during the university's internal proceedings, a lawyer can still provide invaluable advice behind the scenes. They can help prepare for interviews or hearings, review and interpret university policies, and potentially negotiate with the university on the student's behalf.

Furthermore, if criminal charges are also filed, a lawyer will be essential in defending against these serious allegations in court.

Potential Consequences

The consequences of a college sexual assault allegation can be severe and far-reaching. If found responsible by the university, the accused may face disciplinary actions such as suspension, expulsion, or mandatory participation in educational programs.

Moreover, the repercussions extend beyond the college campus. A finding of responsibility could lead to a notation on the student's academic record, potentially affecting transfer opportunities, graduate school admissions, and future employment prospects.

In addition, the accused may lose financial aid or scholarships, either as a direct result of disciplinary action or because of changes in enrollment status. Some professional licensing boards may also consider disciplinary findings when reviewing applications.

Lastly, if criminal charges are filed and result in a conviction, the accused could face additional penalties under state law, such as imprisonment, fines, and registration as a sex offender.

Protect Your Future

Criminal assault laws in Texas are comprehensive and carry severe penalties. If you are facing assault charges in Texas, it is important to understand the nature of these charges and the potential consequences. Always consult with a qualified attorney if you need legal advice or representation.

When you need dependable counsel from an experienced legal team, contact Shane Phelps Law.