Technically, there are three types of simple assault cases in Texas. Nearly all of them are 22.01(a) Assault with Bodily Injury (ABI) cases. A few are 22.01(b) assaults by threat (ABTs) or 22.01(c) assaults by contact (ABCs). But the latter two are only Class C misdemeanors (no jail time and $500 fine). Prosecutors nearly always bring the most serious charges possible.
There’s a fourth kind of assault as well. AFV are assault-family violence cases. The punishment is the same as a 22.01(a), which is a Class A misdemeanor (year in jail and $5,000 fine). But these cases are political hot buttons.
Defenses in Assault Cases
Many of us remember that horrifying Ray Rice abuse video from 2014. What he did was morally indefensible. But legally, maybe not.
The two appeared to be having a heated argument. But no matter how abusive or obscene her language was, words alone can never justify a physical response in Parker County criminal cases.
However, just before he hit her in the elevator, she appeared to lunge at him and possibly spit at him. Arguably, these are physical actions which justified a physical reaction. Another possible interpretation is that the fight mutually escalated from a war of words to a physical altercation. He appeared to slap her a few moments earlier.
If the evidence is weak or the defendant has a good defense, many prosecutors will reduce the charges. But that will rarely happen in AFV cases. Prosecutors would rather go down in flames at trial then reduce charges and appear to compromise. The wisdom or folly of that policy, which most Texas counties embrace, is debatable.
Sentencing Options in Assault Cases
In non-family violence case, prosecutors often consider reducing the charges to Class C ABC. Prosecutors need only prove a harmful or offensive touch, and the alleged victim’s “he hit me” statement nearly always suffices. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the defendant pays a fine and court costs and then walks. There is no probation, in the classic sense, for Class C misdemeanors.
If alcohol was involved, many prosecutors might reduce the charges to Class C public intoxication. So, if the defendant gets in trouble again, the criminal record includes an alcohol-related infraction.
Probation is almost always an option in Class A assault cases. Deferred adjudication may be an option as well. As a condition of probation, most defendants must attend anger management or other such classes.
There are many ways to deal with assault charges. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle cases in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.