In a normal functioning society, violence is shunned. But it is in our nature to cross paths when we are up and about, and unfortunately, sometimes our interactions lead to heated emotions that might escalate and become violent. If you reside in Austin, this begs the question – how serious are Austin’s assault and battery charges?
If you find yourself with Austin assault and battery charges, you may need to get a good lawyer to represent you due to the seriousness the government pays to such crimes. In addition, these charges have significant punishments, including jail time.
What Constitutes Criminal Violence in Texas?
Criminal violence in many states is usually divided into two categories: assault and battery. But in Texas, all criminal violence charges are classified under assault charges. All these crimes are under one umbrella, whether just threatening to inflict injury or actually inflicting the injury.
Despite all these charges being under one umbrella, there are various levels of Austin assault and battery charges recognized by Texas law. These are simple assault and aggravated assault.
Simple assault happens when one recklessly, intentionally, and knowingly inflicts bodily harm or injury to another person. It also occurs when one threatens another with imminent injury to the body or even touches another person knowing that the other person would find that touch offensive or provocative.
In addition, if the person making contact should have known that such contact could be offensive or provocative, that also qualifies as simple assault.
An offense becomes an aggravated assault when they commit a simple assault that leads to serious bodily injury or when they use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the assault.
A serious bodily injury is an injury that leads to impaired function of a body organ or any limb or the loss of either. It can also be an injury that leads to permanent or substantial disfigurement of a body organ or part. Moreover, an injury that leads to death or poses a serious death risk is considered a serious bodily injury.
What Kind of Penalties Do Those Convicted of Assault and Battery Receive?
Being involved in an assault case can be life-changing. Depending on the level of assault, penalties vary. Some are as lenient as just a fine, and some are as serious as felony penalties. With all these cases, you need a qualified, competent lawyer to help you out with your case.
When the prosecutor is handling your case, they want to be going for the harshest punishment, but with a good lawyer, they can argue your case in court to prove your innocence or get you more lenient penalties. These are some of the punishments that come with different assault charges.
Simple Assault Penalties
Four penalties are encompassed in simple assault. They include:
Class C Misdemeanor Assault
This is merely a misdemeanor offense where someone threatens but never follows up with the threats. For example, they might threaten to do bodily injury or make provocative or offensive contact, but they do not execute their threat.
One can be let go of such an offense with a fine not exceeding $500. This is the only assault charge that does not have jail time.
Class A Misdemeanor Assault
A class A misdemeanor occurs when the assault is carried out knowingly and intentionally, inflicting pain without consent from the other person. The punishment for such an assault includes serving jail time for up to a year and a fine of not more than $4000.
Third Degree Felony Assault
When an assault is committed on a government official, emergency personnel, security officer, or a public servant, the assault graduates to a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony can get the perpetrator anywhere between two to ten years in prison and a hefty fine of up to $10,000
Second Degree Felony Assault
Assaulting a security officer or an emergency officer on duty performing their services as stipulated in their contract with the government makes it a second-degree felony assault.
In addition, assaulting a correctional facility team member or officer who is also carrying out their duties as stipulated in the contract with the government also is classified as a second-degree felony assault.
That notwithstanding, committing an assault while you already have a previous assault conviction history qualifies the person for the second-degree felony assault charge. Furthermore, Assault that leads to violence, impeding the victim’s airflow, is also treated as a second-degree felony assault.
Aggravated assaults fall into two penalties: second-degree felony and first-degree felony aggravated assaults. Both first and second-degree felony charges attract a fine of up to $10,000.
Still, the second-degree felony aggravated assault charge can be penalized with time in jail ranging between two to twenty years in prison, while the first-degree felony aggravated charges attract between five to 99 years in prison.
Charges related to these two penalties can also have serious collateral effects on one’s life. For example, if you become a convicted felon, you lose your right to vote, hold public office, or even possess firearms.
While applying for jobs, you might be dismissed because of that record or have to explain it. Furthermore, access to financial tools such as loans and mortgages might become a little more complicated.
Assault and Battery Charges Do Not Guarantee Guilt
Accidents happen, and other people might take them the wrong way and accuse you of assault, which was an honest mistake. Other people exaggerate situations and happenings just so that they might be favored by the justice system, for instance, in matters of child custody or payment of punitive damages.
Therefore, being charged with assault doesn’t automatically make you guilty of the charge. Instead, there is a process of combing through the facts to establish who is truly at fault.
A good lawyer can take your case, search through all available evidence and narratives surrounding the case, and come up with a convincing defense that can get you the best deal possible in either scenario.
How Long Does a Criminal Case Take To Get To Trial in Texas?
When you have Austin assault and battery charges, you can either seek to solve them out of court or make the settlements agreed between you and the victim.
However, dropping such cases is difficult, and you might go to trial. For example, with an assault charge, your case should go to trial within six months after the arrest, and depending on your case’s complexity, it can take between two months to a year.
Can Charges Be Expunged on Austin Assault Charges?
Austin assault and battery charges can get expunged. Your lawyer can advise you further on the procedure of expunction. Nevertheless, you can have the charges expunged as soon as your case ends, and it will involve you showing up to court usually a month after you submit your request.
Austin Assault and Battery Charges Lawyer
Whether innocent or guilty, it is safest to navigate the justice corridors with the help of a lawyer. At Stephen Bowling, we care about our clients and are here to help them avoid possible pitfalls that their opponent’s legal representation might set.
Contact us today for a free consultation so we decipher the facts of your case.