Assault charges should not to be taken lightly in Texas. You could be facing serious jail time (up to life), thousands of dollars in fines and, in certain cases, even the death penalty. The Houston assault lawyer you choose to represent you at this time is one of the most important decisions of your life.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss understands what’s at stake when it comes to defending her clients against misdemeanor and felony assault charges. She has the expertise, skills and dedication to thoroughly examine the evidence against you and formulate an effective defense strategy.
Having a Houston assault lawyer like Lisa Shapiro Strauss — a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer and former county prosecutor — on your side could mean the difference between a guilty or not guilty verdict.
Explanation of Assault Charges in Texas
Under Texas law, you can be charged with assault if you:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person;
- Threaten someone in a way that would cause them to fear for their safety; or
- Have physical contact with another person in a way that would reasonably be considered offensive or provocative.
Types of Assault Charges in Harris County
Simple Assault – A “simple” assault occurs if the assault did not result in any physical harm or injury; or you threatened someone or touched the victim in a way that they considered to be offensive or proactive.
Aggravated Assault – Simple assault becomes aggravated assault when the victim suffers severe bodily harm or injury, or a deadly weapon was used or brandished during the commission of the assault.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon – If you use or display a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault, you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Some of the items that Texas state law considers to be a “deadly weapon” include firearms, explosive devices, clubs, knives and metal knuckles.
Assault against a Public Servant – Assault against a public servant will result in a felony assault charge. Examples of a public servant can include an officer, employee, or agent of government; a juror or grand juror; an attorney at law or notary public performing a governmental function; and a candidate running for election to a public office. An assault in which a public servant is killed could result in the death penalty.
Domestic Violence Assault – In Texas, domestic violence is defined as an assault against a family member, household member (such as a roommate), or a current or past dating partner. Factors that could influence sentencing include your relation to the victim, past convictions for domestic violence and whether strangulation or suffocation was involved.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault Charges in Harris County
Penalties for misdemeanor assault in Texas:
- A class C misdemeanor assault conviction could result in a fine of up to $500.
- A class B misdemeanor assault conviction could result in jail time of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
- A class A misdemeanor assault conviction could result in jail time of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Class C Misdemeanor Assault
The assault does not result in serious bodily harm or injury, you threatened someone, or touched someone in an inappropriate manner.
Class B Misdemeanor Assault
Simple assault becomes a Class B misdemeanor if you:
- Make a terroristic threat, or
- Are not a sports participant but act against a sports participant (such as an athlete, coach or referee) while they are on the field or in retaliation against an action made by a sports participant, such as a bad play, bad call, etc.
Class A Misdemeanor Assault
Simple assault becomes a Class A misdemeanor if you:
- Recklessly engage in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury;
- Act against an elderly or disabled individual;
- Act against a pregnant individual to force that individual to have an abortion;
- Make a terroristic threat against a public servant;
- Threaten violence against a member of your family or household; or
- Prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place.
Felony Assault Charges in Texas
Certain types of assault can result in felony charges. If your actions cause serious bodily harm to another person (including the person’s spouse) or you brandish or used a deadly weapon during the incident, then it becomes “aggravated” assault. In Texas, “aggravated” assault is a felony offense.
You can also face a charge of felony assault if the attack was directed towards certain parties, such as a public servant or family member. Our Houston assault lawyer can help.
Penalties for felony assault in Texas:
- A third degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 2 to 10 years and fines up to $10,000
- A second degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 2 to 20 years and fines up to $10,000.
- A first degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 5 – 99 years or life and up to $10,000 in fines.
Third Degree Felony Assault Charges
A Class A misdemeanor assault charge could be bumped up to a third degree felony if:
- You have a previous domestic violence conviction and are charged with assault against a family member or someone you are romantically involved with.
- The assault was someone you knew to be a public servant or government contractor
- The assault was against an emergency worker or uniformed security guard while they are doing their job.
Second Degree Felony Assault Charge
If you used a weapon during the alleged assault, or if serious injury occurred, then you could be charged with aggravated assault, which is a second degree felony in Texas.
First Degree Felony Assault
This is the most severe felony charge in Texas. You could be charge with first degree felony assault if:
- You have a previous conviction for assault;
- The assault was committed against a family member, household resident or dating partner;
- The assault was committed against a public servant who was performing their duty;
- The assault was in retaliation against the decision of judgement of a public servant;
- The assault was committed against a uniformed security officer who was on duty at the time of the assault;
- The assault was committed against an emergency response worker ;
- The assault was committed against a witness to a crime; or
- The assault was committed against an informant.
Answers to Your Assault Charge Questions
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. Read more about the amount of time you will serve if convicted of assault in Harris County.
If the prosecutors feel it is warranted, they can retry you based on the same charges. This isn’t considered to be “double jeopardy” — being tried twice for the same crime — since the first trial was declared a mistrial. However, the time and cost of a second trial may deter them from calling for a retrial, especially if the mistrial was due to a hung jury. Read more about assault case mistrials and how an experienced assault attorney can avoid them.
At first, a plea bargain may seem like a convenient resolution to your case, but making a deal isn’t always to your advantage.
The best bet is to follow the advice of your lawyer. Don’t let a prosecutor brow beat you into accepting any deal they offer you. Your attorney will be able to negotiate the best deal possible based on the case against you, and depending on the evidence against you, they may advise you to reject an agreement and take your case to trial. Read more about why you might consider a plea bargain in a Houston assault case.
Let Experienced Houston Assault Lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss Protect Your Rights
Assault is a very serious charge; a conviction could follow you for the rest of your life, making it hard to get a job, housing or financial assistance. However, being charged with assault isn’t the same as being convicted. There may be important details in your case that you aren’t even aware of, details that could ultimately get the charges against you dropped or reduced.
You need a tough, dedicated Houston assault attorney to fight for your rights and ensure you receive a fair trial. When it comes to mounting an effective defense, there is no better choice than Lisa Shapiro Strauss.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a former prosecutor with almost 15 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney. She understands your case from both sides. Our firm will evaluate every aspect — from witness statements to surveillance videos — to determine the best course of action.
We understand how district attorneys, judges and juries view the evidence and evaluate cases at trial. As your Houston assault lawyer, you can be sure that Lisa Shapiro Strauss will exhaust all legal tools and resources to ensure your assault charges are kept off your record and don’t harm your future. She has extensive experience negotiating with prosecutors to have clients’ assault charges reduced. She knows how to get assault charge dismissals, acquittals and alternative sentencing options.
If you’ve been charged with assault in Houston or other surrounding communities, don’t put off getting legal help – contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free consultation to review the details in your case.