Simple vs. Aggravated Assault in Texas
A charge of assault always refers to a violent crime, but the circumstances involved dictate whether the charge will be for simple or aggravated assault. Assault charges range from misdemeanors to felonies, and the potential penalties associated with these charges reflect the level of seriousness involved.
Simple Assault Charges
A charge of simple assault refers to a person who either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes someone else to be injured – or threatens to do so. It is important to note that physical contact with the injured party is not a necessary element of this charge. If physical contact is involved, however, it means any kind of unwanted touching – violence need not be involved. If someone is injured as a result of simple assault, the accused can face the charge of a Class A misdemeanor, which carries the potential for up to one year in jail and for a fine of up to $4,000. If instead of actual harm, the alleged crime involves a credible threat of bodily harm and/or an unwanted physical contact, the charge will likely be for a Class C misdemeanor, which typically results in a fine but no jail time.
For an assault to reach the level of an aggravated assault charge, it usually means that either a serious injury ensued or that a deadly weapon was brandished (or used) during the course of the assault. These are factors that aggravate the assault, but there are also other potentially aggravating factors, including all of the following:
The Assault’s Location – If the assault happened in the victim’s home or school, it can turn an otherwise simple assault into an aggravated assault.
The Severity of the Injury – Any resulting injury that is life-threatening or that leads to permanent disfigurement, to protracted impairment, to loss of a body part, or to death qualifies as aggravated.
The Use of a Deadly Weapon – If a deadly weapon, which is any weapon that is intended to cause grave bodily harm or death or that can be used for such purposes, is used in the course of an alleged assault, it ups the charge to aggravated assault.
The Victim’s Status – There are certain status groups that are afforded greater legal protections, including the elderly, children, those with special needs, those in vulnerable populations, and those who are public servants. If the victim belongs to one of these statuses, the charge will likely be aggravated assault.
The potential penalties for aggravated assault, which is usually a second-degree felony, include from 2 to 20 years behind bars and fines of up to $10,000.
Work Closely with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney
If you are facing assault charges – whether simple or aggravated – bringing your most robust defense is imperative – and attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the necessary experience, dedication, and resources to help. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.