Generally, assault is a spontaneous crime related to alcohol consumption. A verbal argument gets out of control or people do things they normally would not do. As a result, Section 22.01 crimes are fairly common on court dockets in the months following the sometimes overly-festive holiday season.
Even if the defendant did not injure the victim, there are several ways misdemeanor assault can be upgraded to felony assault. Aggressive Parker County prosecutors always enhance charges if at all possible. Obtaining high-profile felony convictions is the best way to move up the corporate ladder. So, defendants need an equally aggressive Weatherford criminal defense attorney to derail these enhancements.
This enhancement almost always involves law enforcement personnel. The statute clearly states that it only applies if the person was “lawfully discharging an official duty.” Illegal arrests, such as arrests without probable cause, are obviously not lawful. It’s also unlawful to use excessive force during an arrest. Furthermore, officers who moonlight as private security guards are not discharging their official duties, even if they are still in uniform. This enhancement also applies to correctional services employees, probation officers, and almost anyone else who works for the state.
Prosecutors add the FV designation to misdemeanor assault if the alleged victim was related to the defendant by blood or marriage. A few other relationships, such as current or former dating partners, may apply as well. Assault FV is a third-degree felony if the defendant:
Had a prior assault FV conviction, or
Attempted to strangle the alleged victim.
In all enhancement situations, prosecutors must establish both the elements of the offense and the enhancement elements beyond any reasonable doubt.
There is probably a more polite way to describe this enhancement, but prosecutors usually apply it in these situations. It’s not enough to establish a relationship between the alleged victim and law enforcement. The state must also prove the defendant committed the assault “in retaliation for or on account of the person’s or employee’s performance of a service within the scope of the contract.”
Emergency Services Personnel
There is a separate enhancement for firefighters and other such emergency responders because these people are not always state employees.
This enhancement is related to the family violence enhancement discussed above. However, the pregnancy enhancement applies whether or not the defendant had a record or tried to strangle the alleged victim. Prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the assault in order “to force the individual to have an abortion.”
Assault without physical injury could be a felony in some cases. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.