Helping North Texans Erase Criminal Records

The distinction between simple and aggravated assault

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Assault is a word that people tend to think of as some kind of physical attack on another person. The law in Texas is much more nuanced than this this straightforward perception.

Most assaults are charged as simple assaults, but, in some cases, assault charges may be escalated to aggravated assault. There are distinct differences between simple and aggravated assault.

Defining simple assault

Simple assault occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily harm to another. Importantly, physical contact is not necessary for assault charges to stand.  An individual can also be charged with assault if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly threaten another person with imminent bodily harm. For instance, if an individual says, “I am going to hit you” and the person on the receiving end is justified in believing that there is an imminent threat of bodily harm, then this could amount to assault.

Aggravating factors

There are a number of aggravating factors that can make assault charges more serious. For example, if a physical attack results in broken bones, scarring or permanent injury, then assault charges will likely be upgraded to aggravated assault. The same can be said if a deadly weapon, such as a knife, is used in the commission of an attack.

Another factor that can come into play is who was assaulted. For instance, if the assault involved the strangulation of a romantic partner in a domestic setting, charges might be upgraded. Additionally, physical attacks on law enforcement are more likely to be classified as aggravated assaults.

The laws on assault in Texas are not always straightforward. If you are facing criminal charges, it is pivotal that you seek legal guidance to better understand your situation and to fight back against the allegations in question.