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Criminal Defense

ASSAULT

There are many different types of weapons related criminal offenses that a Texan may be subjected to if he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. These offenses range from simple misdemeanors to serious felonies, depending on the nature of the particular crime. In certain situations, a person could even be subjected to prosecution at the federal level.

Assault charges are a serious matter and a conviction will remain on your record for life. If you are facing assault charges in Houston, including assault, aggravated assault, domestic violence, family violence, or child abuse, your successful defense can hinge on finding an attorney who is skilled in defending these types of allegations.

Assault charges can range from simple to aggravated, and the severity of the sentence depends on whether the state charges you with misdemeanor or felony assault. Factors that may influence the degree of the assault charges filed against you are the extent of the injuries involved and any prior acts of violence on your record. If convicted, sentences for assault can range from fines and probation for simple assault to significant jail time (up to 20 years) for aggravated assault.

Assault charges should not be taken lightly and should be addressed promptly with aggressive and experienced legal representation. If you are being investigated for assault or have already been charged never agree to speak to the police without an attorney present. Investigators employ a variety of tactics to coerce confessions and other incriminating statements including promises of rewards for cooperation. Never speak to a police investigator or any other authority regarding the charges against you without a criminal defense attorney present. The guidance of a qualified attorney is imperative in the protection of your rights and the development of a proper defense against Houston assault charges.

Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code defines assault as happening whenever an individual “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse.” Assault becomes aggravated assault if the defendant:

  • Knowingly attacked a public servant.
  • Had previously been convicted of certain violent crimes.
  • Suffocated or strangled his victims
  • Is an inmate who attacked a worker at a correctional facility
  • Assaulted an on-duty security guard
  • Hit an elderly or disabled person

Stiff Punishments for Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is more severe than general assault. Therefore, aggravated assault is classified as either a second-degree or third-degree felony. The penalties for aggravated assault can include:

  • • Two to 20 years in prison
  • • Fines of up to $10,000
  • • Forced community service
  • • Probation
  • • Mandatory anger management counseling
  • • Forfeiture of handgun privileges

Preparing a Line of Defense Against Aggravated Assault

One of the first things an aggravated assault attorney will do is look for any affirmative defenses. Affirmative defenses do not purge a defendant of guilt, but instead serve to mitigate the severity of the charges against him. Since no two sets of facts are the same, it is vitally important that an attorney does not allow the state of Texas to demand the same sanctions in each and every case.

The state of Texas will sometimes not have enough evidence to convict a defendant. If this is the case, an aggravated assault defense attorney will work hard to reduce or even drop the charges because the government ultimately carries the burden of proof in most legal matters.

FAMILY MEMBER

Being accused with a violent act against a family member can be a very serious charge. Domestic violence charges have been lodged against a variety of defendants with various incomes, educational levels and careers. When a person makes a report that a family member has been violent towards him or her, the accused individual can be:

  • Taken into custody
  • Charged with a crime
  • Restricted from making contact with the accuser
  • Subjected to personal and professional ramifications

For these important reasons, it is paramount to retain an experienced assault of a family member lawyer if you are facing charges or an arrest.

Types of Family Assault Cases

Most types of assault of a family member cases are defined under Texas Penal code § 22.01. These crimes require that a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly:

  • Causes bodily injury to another
  • Threatens another with imminent bodily injury
  • Makes contact with a family member in a way that could reasonably be considered offensive or provocative.

Who is a “Family Member”?

In order for a defendant to be charged with a crime of this nature, the prosecution must demonstrate that the alleged victim is a family member of the defendant. Texas law defines a family member as someone who is related to the defendant by blood or marriage. The definition also incorporates former spouses, foster children, stepchildren and any household members.

Consequences for the Assault of a Family Member

A domestic assault charge can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. A convicted individual can face up to 10 years in prison. He may also face a fine of up to $10,000. If the defendant has a history of domestic violence, he can receive up to twenty years in prison. If the perpetrator used a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime, he can be sentenced to 99 years in prison. A conviction can also lead to the loss of a professional license or job. Similarly, a person who is convicted of family assault may find it difficult to acquire jobs in the future. In addition, a conviction can result in a weakened hand during child custody battles that may eventually arise between parents.

Please contact the Gilligan Law Firm, L.L.P to schedule a FREE consultation at (713) 529-9200.

 

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