Assault is an offense that involves intentionally inflicting or threatening someone else with bodily injury. A simple assault is usually a misdemeanor, but an aggravated assault is a felony.
Aggravating factors are those that make the offense worse than a simple assault. The Texas Penal Code describes several aggravating factors that could result in a more serious assault charge.
1. Deadly weapon
The use of a deadly weapon, such as a gun or a knife, could result in a charge of aggravated assault. This is true even if the other party sustains no injury.
If the victim of the alleged assault is someone who reported potential wrongdoing, it could be an aggravating factor if the assault was in retaliation for providing the information to the authorities. Informants and witnesses are examples of people who could find themselves on the receiving end of such retaliation.
3. Public servant
If the victim is a public servant discharging an official duty, it could result in charges of aggravated assault. Retaliation against a public servant for performing an official duty or exercising an official office could also result in aggravated assault charges even if the public servant was not on duty at the time of the alleged assault.
4. Serious bodily injury
A person could face charges of aggravated assault if the victim of the alleged offense experiences serious bodily injury as a result.
Assault typically requires an intention on the part of the person charged to cause or threaten harm. However, if a person causes bodily harm to another through reckless behavior, it could result in assault charges, though not necessarily aggravated assault.