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Is intent a requirement for an assault charge?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Assault is a violent crime because it involves physically harming someone else. Because of this designation, if you face this charge, you need to take your defense seriously.

A violent crime conviction can come with a range of bad consequences. It is not something you want on your record if you can avoid it. One common defense is a lack of intent, but according to Texas law, that may not work with this criminal charge.

Definition of assault

Assault in this state is when you physically harm someone intentionally or recklessly. It also includes threats to hurt another person.

Based on that definition, you do not have to have the intent to harm to face an assault charge. You do not even have to actually cause harm as long as the other person felt there was a reasonable threat you might hurt them.

Beyond intent

Even more important to note is that assault also can occur when you have any contact with another person’s body and that person perceives it as offensive. So, if you bump into someone and they feel you were aggressive or otherwise felt it was within your control to not touch them, it could result in an assault charge.

Building your defense can be tricky with an assault charge. You will have to look at the specific wording of the prosecution’s accusations to know if you could even try to use intent as a way to defend yourself. Still, with the wording of the law, it may be impossible to try to use that as a way to get out from under the accusations. You may wish to find a different angle.