If you’ve been charged with assault in Harris County, you could be facing a jail sentence or thousands of dollars in fines. However, how much time you are sentenced to and how much time you actually serve for an assault conviction usually depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of the crime you’ve allegedly committed, prior convictions, and the effectiveness of your legal representation, to name a few.
Texas law defines assault as:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury;
- Threatening someone in a way that would cause them to fear for their safety; or
- Having physical contact with another person in a way that would reasonably be considered offensive or provocative.
Jail Time for Misdemeanor Assault in Texas
In Texas, there are two types of assault: misdemeanor and felony assault. Individuals are charged with misdemeanor or “simple” assault if you threatened someone or you touched them in a way that they considered to be offensive or provocative, but the assault did not result in any physical harm or injury to the victim(s).
The potential jail time for misdemeanor assault in Harris County is:
- Class C misdemeanor assault conviction — no jail time, just a fine of up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor assault conviction — up to 180 days in jail.
- Class A misdemeanor assault conviction — up to one year in jail.
Jail Time for Felony Assault Conviction in Harris County
As you can guess, felony assault in Texas, especially aggravated assault, is a very serious crime that come with very serious punishments. Assault becomes a felony in Texas when the victim is seriously injured or a weapon is brandished or used.
The potential jail time for felony assault in Harris County is:
- A third degree felony conviction — between 2 to 10 years
- A second degree felony conviction — between 2 to 20 years
- A first degree felony conviction — between 5 – 99 years or life
Persons convicted of assault in Texas rarely serve their entire sentence. How much time do you actually spend in jail if you’re convicted of assault before you become eligible for parole? That depends on if your offense is considered to be a “non-3g” offense or a “3g” offense. (The term “3g” refers to section 42.12(3)(g). Subsection (3)(g) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.)
Non-3G Assault Sentencing
The majority of convictions for assault in Texas are of the non-3G variety. This means an inmate usually becomes eligible for parole after a specific period of time after serving 25 percent of their sentence, or 15 years (whichever is less). Many factors can impact how much time an inmate actually serves before they receive parole, including the nature of the inmate’s offense, their criminal history, the length of time they’ve served, and how likely to commit a new offense in the future.
3G Assault Sentencing
In Texas, special guidelines are applied in sentencing for certain types of especially violent crimes, such as sexual assault, aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault. These are classified as “3G” offenses, and the punishments are much harsher. Under 3G rules, a judge is not allowed to place a defendant on probation. A person sent to prison after being convicted of a “3G” offense must serve at least 50 percent of their sentence or 30 years (whichever is less) and won’t be eligible for parole until after serving two years behind bars.
Learn More about Assault Sentencing in Harris County
There are many factors that determine how much time a person convicted to assault in Harris County actually spends behind bars. This is why it is so important for a defendant in an assault case to select highly qualified and experienced legal counsel. The quality of your legal representation may mean the difference between acquittal and conviction or receiving probation as opposed to jail time.
Houston assault attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss has an impressive track record when it comes to getting her clients the best results possible. As a former county prosecutor, Lisa understands both sides of a case and what it takes to craft a successful legal defense for her clients. If you have been convicted of assault or other felony or misdemeanor crime in Houston or Harris County, contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
In some cases, a skillful assault lawyer can obtain parole for their clients after a conviction for felony assault.