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When does simple assault lead to felony charges?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Texas prosecutors may charge you with assault after an altercation with another person. Whether someone suffers physical injuries or experiences real fear for their own safety, criminal charges can result from the confrontation or disagreement that goes too far.

Either because the police got involved or someone made a report to police about the incident, at least one of the people involved could face criminal charges. Most of the time, unless there are extenuating circumstances like the use of a weapon, physical acts of violence or intimidation will result in assault charges, which Texas treats as a misdemeanor. When might someone face felony charges instead?

Texas law upgrades assault in two situations

The identity of the other person informs the charges the state will pursue. Under Texas law, prosecutors can charge someone with a third-degree felony instead of a Class A misdemeanor for assault in two specific situations.

The first is when their actions target someone who is a public servant. Either an assault that occurs while a public servant is on the job or because of what they do for a living will lead to enhanced charges.

The second is when the alleged victim is an intimate partner, former intimate partner or a member of the alleged assailant’s family. However, for someone’s actions to escalate to a felony because of a domestic/intimate relationship, there either needs to be a previous conviction on the individual’s record or the assault must involve some kind of strangulation.

Learning about how Texas handles assault charges is an important part of determining how you want to proceed after an arrest.