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Is Assault in Texas a Felony?

Each state has created its own language in reference to violent crimes. You may be familiar with the terms assault and battery, which are the most common terms used for violent or assaultive offenses.

In Texas, several violent crimes are covered under the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 22, Assaultive Offenses, Section 22.01, Assault.

What is technically considered “assault” in Texas? Is it simply an aggressive poke, push, or shove, or is it something more serious? Can assault ever be charged as a felony? Please, continue reading for the answers to these questions.

Under Texas law, aside from homicide crimes, violent offenses are covered under assault. However, there are different degrees of assault, such as:

  • Assault under Sec. 22.01
  • Sexual assault under Sec. 22.011
  • Aggravated assault under Sec. 22.02
  • Aggravated sexual assault under Sec. 22.021
  • Deadly conduct under Sec. 22.05
  • Terroristic threat under Sec. 22.07

Let’s first take a look at assault under Sec. 22.01: Under this section, a person commits assault if he or she intentionally or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, or if they threaten imminent bodily injury on someone else (including their own spouse), or they intentionally cause “physical contact” that would be taken as offensive.

Generally, assault under Sec. 22.01 is a Class A misdemeanor offense, but under certain circumstances it can be charged as a felony of the third degree. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000, or up to one year in jail, or both.

Felony Assault Penalties in Texas

When is assault a felony? A person commits “aggravated assault” under Sec. 22.02 when he or she causes serious bodily injury to another person, including their spouse, or they use or exhibit a deadly weapon while committing the assault.

Aggravated assault is a felony of the second degree, unless the actor used a deadly weapon during the assault and the victim was one of the actor’s family members (e.g. spouse or child), in which case it would be a felony of the first degree.

A felony of the second degree is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $10,000. If charged with a first degree felony, the defendant faces a term of 5 years to life in prison, along with a fine not to exceed $10,000.

If you are facing assault charges, contact our firm to schedule a case evaluation with an experienced Plano criminal defense attorney!