Sec. 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code defines "Assault" in clear, specific terms. A person commits an offense of assault if the person:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
From this definition, a charge of assault can range from a Class "C" misdemeanor charge involving offensive touching to the more serious felony charge of aggravated assault, which often involves an allegation of serious bodily injury to the victim or the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.
If you are being investigated or have been contacted by law enforcement concerning an allegation of Assault, you need to consult with an attorney prior to giving any statement as any conversation you have with law enforcement may be recorded. The best advice, however, is to avoid having a charge of assault filed against you. If you are in a volatile situation, as is often the case when one is going through a divorce, remember that Texas' definition of Assault is broad and simple physical contact made during an argument may be regarded as "offensive" by the receiving party and an even the mere allegation of pain to the victim can be sufficient to satisfy the legal definition of "bodily injury."
Under Texas law, a child is considered an adult at the age of 17 for purposes of criminal prosecution and under certain circumstances, a child can be certified as an adult for prosecution of a criminal offense at even an earlier age. If your son or daughter is contacted by law enforcement regarding an investigation of assault, contact an attorney prior to allowing your child to give a statement no matter how informal the situation may appear at the time. As mentioned earlier, assume any conversation you have with law enforcement will be recorded.
In the course of my legal career, I have prosecuted and defended many people charged with assault, both misdemeanors and felonies. If you are contacted by any law enforcement agency regarding an allegation of assault, you have the right to consult with an attorney prior to giving any statement and I encourage you do so. I will vigorously defend you through every stage of a criminal case, from investigation to trial.
Contact J. Gordon Dees online to schedule a consultation or call the firm at 713-621-2070.
For after hours emergency, dial 713-857-2285.