A Dallas assault lawyer can help to explain the legal concept of assault and why the local prosecutor has chosen to pursue the case against you. Armed with this knowledge, we may be able to act to protect your rights in negotiations or in court.
In simple terms, an assault is any unauthorized physical contact with another person that causes an injury or offense. However, it is also possible to face assault charges even if physical contact never occurs. A person may still be accused of assault if they merely threaten bodily harm against another.
Types of Assault Charges in Dallas, Texas
The penalties you face if convicted will depend, among other things, on what type of violent crime you are charged with. The possibilities include the following:
In many cases, an assault is a Class A misdemeanor. The law, found in TX Penal Code § 12.01, applies to those who:
- “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” injure another person: A clear example includes reaching out and slapping another person.
- Purposely threaten to injure another person: In our above example of slapping someone, it is just as illegal to slap and miss as it is to make contact, if the slapper’s intention was to frighten the other person.
- Touch another person in a way that that person will consider threatening: It is illegal to make any physical contact with another person when that contact is “provocative or offensive,” even if that contact does not cause bodily harm.
In other cases, an assault can be a Class C misdemeanor. This applies if you allegedly threatened bodily harm or initiated inappropriate contact that did not result in an injury.
The identity of the alleged victim can be an aggravating factor in assault cases. For example, it is a third-degree felony if you allegedly assaulted:
- A public servant or security officer who was on the job at the time of the assault
- A member of your family or household, if you have a previous family violence conviction
- A government contractor
The most serious examples of violence cases allege aggravated assault. Under TX Penal Code § 22.02, an aggravated assault is an incident that results in serious bodily injury to another person or any assault that involves the use of a deadly weapon.
According to TX Penal Code § 1.07, the definition of serious bodily injury includes a person suffering a substantial risk of death or permanent disfigurement or impairment.
Potential Punishments for Assault Convictions in Dallas
Assault charges in Dallas range in seriousness from minor misdemeanors with no jail time to life-altering felonies that carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault
Per TX Penal Code § 12.21, being convicted of a Class A misdemeanor can result in:
- A jail sentence of up to 1 year
- A fine of up to $4,000
- Both of the above
Additionally, the court may enact a protective order that requires you to stay a certain distance away from the alleged victim. If you live with or close to the accuser, this could mean:
- Having to leave your house
- Being prohibited from making any contact with the accuser, either in person or via communication technology (e.g., texts or phone calls)
- Being compelled to stay away from places you normally frequent, if the accuser also visits those places
Penalties for a Class C misdemeanor carry no possible jail term but can involve a fine of up to $500. These are relatively minor charges, but they can still damage your financial situation and your reputation, so hire a Dallas assault lawyer as soon as you can.
Dallas Assault Lawyer (214) 696-9253
Penalties for Felony Assault
Felony convictions are much more serious than misdemeanor convictions. They may carry penalties such as:
- Fines: Most felonies involve a $10,000 fine, in addition to any other fees or restitution you are ordered to pay.
- Prison time: The maximum sentence for a third-degree felony is 10 years. A first-degree felony may result in a life sentence.
- The death penalty: In extremely serious cases, such as if the assault resulted in loss of life, the death penalty may be on the table.
- The loss of rights: Those serving a felony sentence are not allowed to vote until their sentence is over. In addition, some violent crimes convictions may require you to relinquish your firearms.
With all of that said, the laws that define assault in Dallas can involve many exceptions and complications. Instead of trying to work it all out on your own, you can hire Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to investigate your situation and explain your options.
What Will Our Dallas Assault Lawyers do to Protect You?
A Dallas assault lawyer could help you fight back against these allegations and create reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors. Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg may be able to protect you in the following ways:
- Evaluate your case for free: Everyone who calls can talk with a member of our team at no cost or obligation. Our team can listen to your story and tell you more about how our services may be of use to you.
- Explain your rights and options: There may be multiple ways of approaching your case and building a defense. We can sit down with you and review all options before you make a decision.
- Examine and collect evidence: In addition to conducting our own, independent investigation, we can review the prosecution’s actions and make sure whatever evidence they have was collected legally.
- Negotiate a plea deal: Sometimes, we can get the prosecution to reduce the charges. In some cases, we can even get the charges dropped all together.
- Handle all paperwork and meetings: As your legal counsel, we can take care of all forms that need filing and represent you at meetings with the prosecution and/or the court.
- Fight for you in court: In cases that go to trial (and not all do), we can make all necessary preparations and then present your case to the judge and jury.
In every case, the prosecutor needs to prove that not only did a defendant initiate unwelcome physical contact (or threaten to do so), but also that the defendant intended to commit these acts. If we can cast enough doubt on any aspect of this argument, you may go free.
The Concept of Intent is Essential in an Assault Case
One common defense in assault cases involves the idea of intent. The prosecutor needs to prove that a defendant threatened or came into contact with an alleged victim with the intent to cause harm. In other words, the defendant must have had the proper state of mind to commit the offense.
For most assault charges, this means proving that the defendant intentionally or knowingly committed the assault. This can mean:
- Throwing a punch with the intent to hit another person or knowing that swinging a baseball bat could threaten nearby people
- Acting recklessly or with blatant disregard for the safety of others, such as driving far over the speed limit on a dark or rainy roadway
- Charging at someone with the intent to either physically hurt them or to intimidate them
A Dallas assault attorney at Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can provide more information about the concept of intent in assault cases and potentially leverage these ideas into defenses against your charges.
Reach Out Today to Hire a Dallas Assault Attorney for Your Assault Case
If you are facing assault and violence charges, contact the legal team at Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today. An assault lawyer from our Dallas office can work with you to understand your side of the story, gather evidence that can help to disprove the prosecutor’s claims, and protect your rights in and out of court. Call a Dallas criminal defense lawyer at (214) 696-9253 to discuss your case.