If the police arrest you, one of the basic things to understand is what they are charging you with. Some charges sound similar but have very different consequences.
Assault is one of those confusing areas. Some assault charges are misdemeanors, and some are felonies. Within each category, there are also further subdivisions.
How does Texas define assault?
Texas might consider it assault if you:
- Injure someone
- Threaten them with injury
- Touch someone in a way they think provocative or offensive
While a court would usually need to decide that you knew what you were doing for it to be assault, you could still be convicted if you injured someone due to recklessness.
For example, you are playing baseball in the park and accidentally hit someone who appears from nowhere. That is not assault. Swinging the bat around in a crowded space when it is obvious you might hit someone? That might be assault due to recklessness. Swinging a baseball bat when you knock on a neighbor’s door to ask them to turn their music down? That probably is assault, especially if you prod them or hit them with it.
Who you accuses you of assault can affect the severity of the charge
Assault against specific public servants, someone pregnant, elderly or living with a disability could increase the offense to a more serious level. The same applies if you had some kind of personal relationship with your accuser. Using a deadly weapon or the accuser suffering a severe injury could increase the charge to an aggravated assault.
If all that sounds confusing, it is because it is. Defending against criminal charges requires a thorough knowledge of the minor details and technicalities that can swing a case your way. The prosecution will have that knowledge. Make sure you do, too.