If you are facing allegations of assault or have already been formally charged, seeking legal help should be a priority. You need discrete, thorough, and assertive assistance that may clear or reduce your criminal charges. Before dismissing the idea that having legal representation is necessary, allow our assault lawyers in Dallas, TX, to show you why.
Our Dallas criminal defense 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.
Understanding What’s Defined As Assault
Assault is a term used to describe a wide range of criminal offenses that involve physical harm or the threat of physical injury to another person. It encompasses various acts, including aggravated or sexual assault, which is a particularly heinous form of assault. In the realm of criminal justice, assault is taken very seriously, and individuals who commit such offenses may face severe criminal charges.
The definition of assault may vary, but it generally involves any unauthorized physical contact that causes harm, injury, or offense to another person. It is important to note that assault can be both a criminal and civil offense, with potential consequences in both realms. In criminal cases, assault crimes can result in significant penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, or probation.
On the civil side, victims of assault may seek compensation for damages through a civil lawsuit. Understanding the legal definition and implications of assault is crucial to understanding the legal process ahead and the defense strategy implemented by your criminal defense attorney.
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” injures 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 Texas 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,TX
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 in Dallas
Per TX Penal Code § 12.21, being convicted of a Class A misdemeanor can result in:
- A jail sentence of up to one 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 in Dallas
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 crime convictions may require you to relinquish your firearms.
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 the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to investigate your situation and explain your options.
How to Vet an Assault Defense Lawyer for Your Case
When facing assault allegations, it is crucial to find a skilled and experienced Dallas assault attorney who can provide effective legal services. Getting a lawyer is essential to ensuring that you have the best possible representation for your case.
Start by looking for a lawyer with experience in handling assault offenses. An experienced lawyer will have a deep understanding of the local legal landscape and be able to navigate the complexities of assault cases effectively.
Take the time to meet with potential lawyers and discuss your case. This will allow you to gauge their level of professionalism, communication skills, and commitment to your defense.
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 and even explain how long your case could take to resolve.
- 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 altogether.
- 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 not only that a defendant initiated unwelcome physical contact (or threatened 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 the 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.
Click to contact our Assault Lawyers today
Additional Factors That Can Impact a Criminal Assault Case
In addition to the legal aspects of a criminal assault case, several other factors can have an impact on the outcome. These factors can influence the investigation, prosecution, and defense strategies. Here are some key considerations:
- Evidence: The strength and quality of the evidence collected by law enforcement can significantly impact the case. This includes physical evidence, witness testimonies, surveillance footage, and any other relevant documentation. The credibility and reliability of the evidence play a crucial role in determining guilt or innocence.
- Prior criminal history: A defendant’s prior criminal record can be a significant factor in an assault case. A history of similar offenses or violent behavior may increase the severity of the charges and potential penalties.
- Victim cooperation: The willingness of the victim to cooperate with the investigation and prosecution can influence the case. Their testimony and cooperation can strengthen the prosecution’s case, while their lack of cooperation may weaken it.
- Self-defense claims: If the defendant asserts self-defense as a legal defense, it can significantly impact the case. The prosecution will need to prove that the defendant’s actions were not justified under the circumstances.
- Plea negotiations: The possibility of plea negotiations can impact the outcome of the case. The prosecution and defense may engage in discussions to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, potentially resulting in reduced charges or penalties.
- Sentencing guidelines: The specific sentencing guidelines and laws in the jurisdiction where the case is being heard can play a role in determining the potential penalties if the defendant is convicted.
Each criminal assault case is unique, and these additional factors, along with the legal considerations, can shape the ultimate outcome. It is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate these factors effectively and mount a strong defense strategy.
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 the 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.
Contact our criminal defense law firm by phone or online to discuss your case.