If you are charged with assault in Texas, know that the state imposes harsh punishments if you get convicted. You could be facing several years in jail, a hefty fine, or possibly both.

How Does Texas Define Assault?

In Texas, assault is defined as knowingly causing physical injury to another person. A person who threatens another person, or who makes physical contact with another in a way that is meant to be offensive can also be charged with assault.

Charges for Assault

All of the actions described in the definition of assault are considered a class A misdemeanor, but these charges can be increased to felony charges under certain circumstances.

Third Degree Felony Charges

You can be charged with a 3rd-degree felony if:

  • You assault a police officer, public servant, or contractor for the government who is acting in their official capacity.
  • You assault a security officer or an employee who works in the emergency services field who are working in their official capacities.
  • You force a pregnant woman to have an abortion.
  • You assault your significant other after a previous conviction of this nature.
  • You commit domestic or “family violence” after a previous conviction of this nature.

Aggravated Assault

A charge of aggravated assault occurs if:

  • You intentionally cause serious injury to another person
  • You brandish or use a deadly weapon during the assault

The charge for this offense is a second-degree felony. It can be increased to a first-degree felony if the person assaulted was:

  • The significant other or family member as defined by the statutes.
  • A police officer or public servant.
  • A contractor of the government working in a professional capacity.
  • A security officer working in a professional capacity.
  • A person who is acting as a witness or informant against you and the assault was in retaliation for their services.

Punishments for Assault

The normal penalties for misdemeanors or felonies include a fine or jail time. The court can decide if it wants to impose one or the other or both punishments.

For a class A misdemeanor, you are looking at a fine of up to $4,000, jail time of up to one year, or both.

Felony charges are a little steeper. They include:

  • Third-degree felony: A fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in a state prison facility for a term anywhere from 2 to 10 years.
  • Second-degree felony: A fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in a state prison facility for a term anywhere from 2 to 20 years.
  • First-degree felony: A fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in a state prison facility for a term anywhere from 5 to 99 years.

What Is Assault Family Violence?

Texas also has laws against “family violence.” The term is defined to include a member of the family or a member of the household, whether the person is related or not. This means assault against a live-in girlfriend or boyfriend is considered family violence – even though the person isn’t a member of your family, they are a member of your household.

Like assault, family violence is defined as knowingly and willfully committing violence on a member of your family or a member of your household. It is an all-encompassing term that can be used to describe:

  • Domestic violence. Domestic violence is fairly synonymous with family violence – it pertains to assault committed against a family member or household member, which is defined to include roommates.
  • Dating violence. Dating violence is assault towards a person with whom you have a dating relationship. It does not pertain to self-defense measures. A “dating relationship” generally means two persons have a relationship of an intimate nature for a period of time. When determining the relationship, the court will take into consideration:
    • The length of time the two persons have been in the relationship
    • The nature of their relationship (whether they are friends or have a romantic report)
    • What activities the two persons attended or engaged in together


Talk to a Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Assault charges can be intimidating – they carry thousands of dollars in fines and can land a person in jail for years, and possibly even decades. If you have been falsely accused of assaulting someone, know that you are in for the battle of your life. The state of Texas does not take kindly to people charged with assault, and you will need to work hard to prove your innocence.

The same is true of people accused of assault family violence. If you are even suspected of committing assault family violence, you can be arrested and put in jail. You may know you are innocent, but it can be an uphill battle convincing others of this fact.

In these cases, it may be beneficial to contact a criminal defense lawyer about your case. Your lawyer will be the one person who will be looking out for you – they will ensure your rights aren’t being compromised, and that you are given fair treatment every step of the way. A lawyer who is well-versed with Texas assault laws can put together a case with the sole purpose of divining the best outcome for you.

The criminal defense lawyers at Tress Law Firm can put your mind at ease. Not only does our team have extensive knowledge of the criminal court system in Denton County; we also have great respect for the law and a passion for fighting for the rights of our clients. If you’ve been accused of assault, you need to have the right firm in your corner. Give us a call to discuss your case.