Assault and battery are covered by the same section of the Texas Penal Code. Individuals who commit assault or battery in the Lone Star State can face charges ranging from a Class C misdemeanor to a first degree felony, and they can be ordered to pay a fine as low as $500 or sent to prison for up to five years. The most serious penalties are reserved for individuals who use weapons during assaults or cause serious injuries to domestic partners, witnesses, informants, or officials like police officers or emergency workers.
Individuals can be charged with assault in Texas even when they injure others unintentionally if their behavior was reckless. Class A misdemeanors are brought against individuals who issue threats that they do not follow through on or touch others despite knowing that their actions would be construed as provocative or offensive. Assaulting an entertainer or athlete raises the charge to a Class B misdemeanor, and causing bodily injuries or physically accosting an elderly person warrants a Class C misdemeanor charge under Texas law.
Choking a family member or assaulting a police officer, public servant or emergency worker will lead to a third degree felony charge in Texas, and second degree felony charges are filed against individuals who choke family members and have been previously convicted of assault. More serious injuries can warrant a first degree felony assault charge.
Prosecutors hoping to give themselves a strong position in plea negotiations often file the most serious charges they can in assault cases. Criminal defense attorneys with experience in assault, battery and domestic violence cases may encourage prosecutors to take a more lenient approach and reduce the charges and penalties by pointing out factors that could mitigate their client’s behavior. These could include a clean criminal record and sincere regret and remorse.