Texas Assault Defense Attorney
If you are facing assault charges, you need an assault attorney in Houston to look at your assault case as soon as possible. A conviction on assault charges can carry serious penalties including expensive fines and jail time (up to 99 years or even life).
Mark Thiessen, top criminal defense attorney and founder of Thiessen Law Firm, is Board Certified in Criminal Law by Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has extensive experience crafting trial-tested defense strategies to help those accused of assault defend their freedoms.
Seasoned counsel is just a phone call away. If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault, domestic assault, intoxication assault, or any related charge, contact an assault attorney in Houston at Thiessen Law Firm by calling 713-864-9000 today.
We offer a free consultation and are available 24/7 to assist you with your assault charges.
What is considered assault in Texas?
Under the Texas Penal Code, one can be convicted of assault if one “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes or threatens bodily injury to another person” or if one “intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another person or persons with the knowledge that the person will consider that contact to be offensive or undesirable.” (See Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a) below.)
An assault may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the circumstances of the case (see Texas Penal Code § 22.01(b) and (c)). If a public servant or elderly individual is assaulted, one may face enhanced penalties (see Texas Penal Code § 22.01(d)). Additionally, penalties for simple assault charges can be enhanced due to domestic violence and/or violating orders of protection (see Texas Penal Code § 22.01(e)).
Mark Thiessen is a criminal defense all-star. If he can’t get you a win, nobody can.
I’ve worked with Mark and his team on two very different cases, and both times I’ve been blown away by the level of honesty, strategy, and respect that Thiessen Law Firm brings to the table…Posted by Adam, an Assault Client
View More Testimonials
Types of assault charges in Texas
The kind of punishment you face for an assault charge in Texas varies depending on the type of assault charge you’re accused of committing. Some of the most common types of assault charges include:
Simple Assault: Simple assault is the lowest level of assault charge in Texas. A simple assault typically occurs as a result of unwanted physical contact with another person that did not result in injury, but that the other person found unpleasant, offensive, or threatening. Simple assault can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case and the criminal background of the accused.
Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault in Texas is a broader category of offense that refers to an assault that causes serious bodily injury to another person and/or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault. Aggravated assault in Texas can be charged as either a second or first degree felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the criminal background of the accused.
Sexual Assault: Also known as rape, sexual assault in Texas is defined as any unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact involving penetration. In most cases, sexual assault is a first degree felony that can result in a prison sentence of 5-99 years upon conviction.
Assault Family Violence: Domestic violence (officially termed assault family violence in Texas), refers to an assault made against a family member or anyone who resides in your home, regardless of family relation. Domestic violence sentencing and penalties vary widely depending on the nature of the assault, the age of the victim(s), and the criminal history of the accused.
Intoxication Assault: Commonly associated with DWI, intoxication assault in Texas is defined as operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, when another person suffers serious bodily injury as a result of such intoxication. In Texas, intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by a sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years in prison upon conviction.
See our page on Intoxication Manslaughter for more information.
Assault on a Public Servant: In Texas, an assault against a public servant is automatically charged as a felony. A public servant can refer to anybody performing a governmental function, including but not limited to police officers, postal workers, jurors, judges, or any other person involved in the execution of government duties.
Penalties for Assault Charges in Texas
In Texas, the penalties you may face for an assault charge can vary from a class C misdemeanor punishable by a small fine all the way to a first-degree felony punishable by as much as 99 years in prison.
In Texas, simple assault charges can range from class A to class C misdemeanors depending on the nature of the assault, its victim, and your criminal background.
Class C misdemeanor simple assault: Touching someone without their consent or in a way they find unpleasant with no resultant injury is typically charged as a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine upon conviction.
Class B misdemeanor simple assault: A simple assault is upgraded to a class B misdemeanor if the incident involved a terroristic threat. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days jail time and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
Class A misdemeanor simple assault: Simple assault charges can be upgraded to a class A misdemeanor for any of the following reasons:
- The simple assault was carried out against an elderly person or a disabled individual
- A terroristic threat is made against a public servant (i.e. you yell “I will mess you up!” while a traffic officer is writing you a ticket)
- A direct threat of violence is made against a member of your household
- The offending action involved conduct that placed the victim or others in imminent danger of serious bodily injury
- The offending action prevents or interrupts the occupation of a public space such as an airplane, a store, a car, etc.
If convicted of a class A misdemeanor simple assault, you may be punished by jail time of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Aggravated assaults are charged as felonies, which can mean jail time if convicted. If you are facing felony aggravated assault charges, it is critical that you work with an experienced aggravated assault attorney in Houston.
Generally speaking, felony assault charges are filed for any action that results in serious bodily harm to another person or involve the use or brandishing of a deadly weapon. Additionally, certain extenuating factors can see a simple assault charge bumped up to a third degree felony. However, the degree of felony charge you face on an assault charge depends on the circumstances, and the effect on potential sentencing can be drastic.
Third degree felony assault: A simple assault charge can be upgraded from a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony for any of the following reasons:
- You have a previous conviction for simple domestic violence assault
- The assault family violence involved impeding breath (choking)
- The simple assault was performed against someone you knew was a public servant or government contractor, or against an on-duty emergency worker or security guard (ex. You grab an officer’s hand as they attempt to handcuff you)
If convicted of third degree felony assault in Texas, you could face a prison sentence of between 2–10 years and fines up to $10,000.
Second degree felony aggravated assault: Any assault involving the use of a deadly weapon or involving serious bodily injury is considered aggravated assault and is treated as (at least) a second degree felony. If convicted of second degree felony aggravated assault, you could face a prison sentence of between 2–20 years and fines up to $10,000.
First degree felony aggravated assault: First degree felonies are the most severe, and can result in severe consequences upon conviction. A prosecutor can pursue first degree felony charges for aggravated assault if your case involves one or more of the following factors:
- You’ve been previously convicted of aggravated assault
- You are accused of assaulting a member of your household or a dating partner
- You are accused of assaulting a public servant during the execution of government duty
- You are accused of assaulting a witness or informant to a crime, even if it is on behalf of another party
- You are accused of assaulting an on-duty emergency worker or uniformed security guard
If convicted of first degree felony aggravated assault in Texas, you could face a prison sentence of between 5–99 years or life and up to $10,000 in fines.
Texas v. T.J.
Harris County No. 2
Interference with Emergency Call (Class A Misd). Client was a doctor going through a divorce with his wife who was a professional actress (Predatory Moon and Hit Women). He had already filed a case against her for Assault after she broke his jaw. The 911 call was all her screaming and crying. You never heard his voice or any loud banging or anything. I even had pictures of him at the clinic from their surveillance cameras at the time of the call. Additionally, I had two witnesses that remember him at the clinic at the time of the 911 call. The wife refused to even show up to testify and asked the DA to dismiss it. So why did this case even go to trial??? Because of One DA. Others wanted to dismiss it. This DA was so overzealous and irrational that he made his number 3 try it with a 911 tape and only one of the three investigating officers. Honestly, he was abusing his power as a DA. Luckily, the Honorable Judge Bill Harmon granted a directed verdict after their case in chief and put a stop to all this nonsense. After the jury was excused, one juror came around the box and walked straight up to the DA wanting to ask questions. The juror was taken back to the jury room and both the State and I went back to talk with them. The jurors were furious that the State would even waste tax payer money on a case like this. And, it could’ve cost my client his medical license. All because of One DA. It’s scary the power a DA can abuse. I hope HCDAO takes a look at his actions and reconsiders whether he is a positive reflection for their team. Thank you, thank you to Judge Bill Harmon for bringing justice into this situation. You are greatly appreciated.
How an assault attorney in Houston can defend an assault case
Assault charges carry serious penalties both in the courtroom and out. Not only can an assault conviction send you to jail and burden you with fines, but you may also find it nearly impossible to find gainful employment when an assault conviction appears on your background check
That’s why it’s critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer (and preferably one with lots of experience as an assault attorney in Houston) immediately after being charged with aggravated assault. Once the State charges you with the crime, they must prove that case beyond a reasonable doubt. Then a defense attorney can raise an affirmative defense, which the State would then have to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt. While there is no single defense strategy in an assault case, a quality defense attorney can help you in a number of ways, including:
- Alleging self-defense: In many cases, assault doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. If you were attacked or threatened by your accuser prior to striking or injuring them, you and your lawyer may be able to allege self-defense by working with witnesses, analyzing evidence, and even working with reconstructionists, analysts and other expert witnesses who can help a jury understand what truly happened in your case.
- Alleging defense of property: If someone was attempting to invade your home or steal/damage your property in a way that required reasonable force to stop or made you fear for your life, your attorney can use these conditions to craft a defense.
- Disproving key elements of the accusation: In order to be convicted of a crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense you are accused of. With that burden of proof, the details matter. Inconsistent stories, bad witnesses, and shaky evidence are all things an experienced defense attorney can identify and call into question when defending your case in court.
- Collecting evidence and working with experts: In serious assault cases, sometimes the most critical work is done outside the courtroom. A quality Texas assault lawyer will work with you to analyze the conditions of the incident, returning to the scene of the alleged offense, searching for any video/audio recordings or eyewitnesses, and working with esteemed experts to analyze/reconstruct elements of the accusation.
- Fighting for fairer charges and sentencing: Sometimes a client is guilty, but not of the level of offense the prosecution wants to charge them with. When this happens, it’s vital that your attorney work to reach a fairer agreement with the prosecuting attorney to ensure that you are tried fairly for your offense.
Accused of assault? Here are the 4 steps to take right away.
Meet with a top assault attorney in Houston
If you have been charged with aggravated assault or domestic violence assault, it’s wise to contact an assault attorney in Houston ASAP. Thiessen Law Firm’s Mark Thiessen is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ease your concerns and protect your freedom.