While many people lump assault and battery together, they are actually considered two distinct crimes. When appropriate, an offender can be charged with both, though the state of Texas usually prosecutes battery as a more severe form of assault. While assault and battery are prosecuted as criminal offenses in Texas, the state also allows victims to sue their attacker in civil court in an effort to be awarded damages for their injuries.
Let’s explore each charge in further detail.
What it Means to be Convicted of an Assault Charge
Assault is, in short, the threat of offensive contact that could lead to bodily harm. Typically, an assault requires an overt, or direct, act that would put a reasonable person in fear for their safety. Spoken words alone will not be enough to constitute an assault unless the offender backs them up with an act or actions that put the victim in reasonable fear of imminent harm.
Included in the state’s definition of assault is also actual bodily harm to another person through intentional or reckless actions. If an individual acts in a way that’s considered dangerous to other people, that can be enough to support assault charges, even if they did not intend particular harm to a particular individual. Moreover, the intent to scare or frighten another person can be enough to establish assault charges, as well. A final definition of assault includes contact that’s considered offensive or provocative.
Assault can be charged as an aggravated offense when the contact results in serious injury to the victim or when a weapon was used to cause an injury. The particular circumstances of the case will determine whether the crime will be charged as a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor, or in the most serious of cases, a first-, second-, or third-degree felony.
What it Means to be Convicted of a Battery Charge
Battery is defined in Texas as actual bodily contact that results in injury. Generally, a victim does not need to be injured or harmed for someone to be arraigned for battery, so long as an offensive contact is involved. In a classic example, spitting on an individual does not physically injure them, but it nonetheless constitutes offensive contact sufficient for one to be incriminated for battery. Whether a particular contact is considered offensive is usually evaluated from the perspective of the “ordinary citizen”.
In the state of Texas, battery is typically charged as a more severe form of assault, meaning the crime is more likely to carry a severe penalty, including a heavy fine and jail time.
What are the Charges and Penalties for a Conviction of Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery can be charged in varying degrees depending on aggravating factors such as weapons and the ultimate injury. The punishment ranges for any state charge are as follows:
- Class C Misdemeanor – No confinement, $500.00 maximum fine
- Class B Misdemeanor – Up to 180 days in county jail confinement, $2,000.00 maximum fine
- Class A Misdemeanor – Up to 1 year in county jail confinement, $4,000.00 maximum fine
- State Jail Felony – Up to 180 days to 2 years in state jail confinement, $10,000.00 maximum fine
- 3rd-Degree Felony – Between to 2-10 years in prison, $10,000.00 maximum fine
- 2rd-Degree Felony – Between to 2-20 years in prison, $10,000.00 maximum fine
- 1st-Degree Felony – Between to 5-99 years in prison, $10,000.00 maximum fine
Due to the serious nature of assault and battery charges, you should consult with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one is facing charges here in San Antonia, Texas.
Defender of Those Charged with Assault and Battery—Attorney Cesar A. Montalvo
If you’ve been charged with assault and/or battery here in the state of Texas, you’re facing consequences that can negatively impact your rights—and even your very freedom—for years to come. When so much is on the line, you need the individualized attention and transparent communication you will receive from a lawyer at a private firm, rather than from an over-worked public defender.
At the Law Offices of Cesar A. Montalvo, our criminal defense expert believes that every person is entitled to top-notch legal defense to protect their rights. Cesar Montalvo is an advocate of the accused, a defender of their rights, and an expert criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX. Over the years, he has built a strong reputation for successfully defending alleged offenders both in and out of the courtroom, due to his extensive knowledge of Texas criminal law. If he can’t get your charges dropped or reduced, he’ll work to minimize the negative consequences on your life and on your wallet.
When you’re represented by our legal team here at the Law Offices of Cesar A. Montalvo, we treat you like you are more than the crime you’ve been accused of. We work hard to make sure you understand every aspect of your case and feel involved in the legal strategy we’ve designed to defend you. We are proud of the relationships we’ve built with our clients in our time serving the San Antonio community. From the moment you’re arrested to the conclusion of your case, you can be confident that your case is being handled with the care and attention you deserve.
Battery and assault attorney Cesar Montalvo is ready to craft a customized course of action for you. If you’ve been charged with a crime in this state, you only want to be in the best of criminal defense hands.