If you’re wondering how to beat a simple assault charge, there are certain things you can do and steps you can take.
First things first: remain calm and, no matter what you do, avoid further contact with the accuser. A first time simple assault charge can be overcome, but you need to understand what to do if you’re accused with assault — including curbing your desire to clear things up on your own. Trust us, that almost always only makes the situation worse.
In the meantime, contact a Houston assault attorney and educate yourself on how to beat a simple assault charge. If you’ve been charged with assault, it’s wise to seek legal representation ASAP.
Now, let’s take a few minutes to cover the basics of simple assault.
What is a simple assault?
The first thing you need to know about how to beat a simple assault charge is the actual definition of simple assault. We know — this is pretty basic stuff — but it’s important.
Generally speaking, simple assault means you’ve threatened someone, but you have not physically harmed that person. It can expand to include physical touch, but it would not involve any serious physical injuries.
Of course, if someone recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, then they could be accused of aggravated assault charge (and then they will be looking for aggravated assault lawyers in Houston, instead) or, if the person involved was a family member, accused of domestic abuse.
Simple assaults usually involve threats without a weapon present or the failed attempt to physically harm someone. Convictions will show up on your criminal record.
In order to be considered a simple assault, your accuser will have to prove that:
- Intent: You intended to harm them or threaten to harm them
- Reasonable apprehension: The victim perceived your intention
- Harm: The victim was harmed (but did not sustain serious bodily harm) or afraid of being harmed because of threats
How to beat a simple assault charge: getting simple assault charges dropped
There are a variety of possible defenses you can leverage to have your assault charges dropped. Again, this will depend on your particular situation, as well as the skill and experience of your Houston assault attorney.
Failure to prove one of the 3 elements:
If your accuser is unable to prove that you intended to harm them/threaten them, that they understood your intentions, or that they actually were harmed or afraid of being harmed, then (technically) their case doesn’t have legs to stand on. Unfortunately, it is possible to be convicted even if the prosecutor fails to demonstrate these three tenets of a simple assault charge.
One of the most common defenses against simple assault charges is to claim that you were defending yourself, others, or property. It is legal to defend all three of these things, as long as the violence is not extreme, disproportionate, or initiated by you.
Another common defense is that of mistaken identity. In the confusion of a fight or an imminent fight, it’s possible that the plaintiff mixed you up with someone else, especially if you don’t know one another. In other cases, someone else committed the simple assault but, for whatever reason, the person is placing the blame on your shoulders.
Did the person accusing you of simple assault consent to your actions? If so, it’s possible to argue that, in following through with those actions, you did not actually commit a crime.
Depending on the particulars of your case, your defense attorney may also put forward the defense that what is being labeled a simple assault was truly just an accident. With this defense, you admit to having injured someone or that your actions may have been perceived as a threat, but that doing so was accidental, not malicious, and/or unintended.
Keep in mind that, unless there are witnesses or footage of the incident, it is possible that any of these defenses will come down to a he-said-she-said situation. Once again, that often means that the outcome of your case frequently boils down to your attorney and how successfully he or she is able to defend you.
What are the simple assault penalties?
A simple assault charge is typically considered a misdemeanor; however, in very extreme cases, it could be charged as a felony. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor (the highest level of misdemeanors), you could be facing up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in prison, depending on the situation. You would also be responsible for any payments the victim makes towards property damage or counseling.
If you are given jail time, you may have the opportunity to negotiate your sentence to that of probation. Rather than spending any time in jail, you would be required to follow a strict set of rules under the supervision of a probation officer for a predetermined amount of time. Probation includes both one-time and monthly fees.
Work with a top lawyer who knows how to beat a simple assault charge
If you’re trying to find out how to beat a simple assault charge, chances are you’ve discovered that simple assault charges aren’t anything close to “simple.” It’s important to have a skilled defense lawyer in your corner. A skilled attorney can help you prove innocence or, at the very least, advocate to reduce sentencing to probation over jail time.
You need a criminal law specialist! Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm is one of the most experienced and top-rated Houston assault attorneys. Mark specializes in Criminal Law and is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Thiessen Law Firm is available to fight for you 24/7 and to help you understand how to beat a simple assault charge.
Give Thiessen Law Firm a call at 713-864-9000 or request a case evaluation today.
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