Most people understand that the state could charge them with assault if they strike another person. People may also understand that state law prohibits intentionally intimidating or threatening someone with bodily harm.
However, there’s a third definition of assault under Texas state law that people overlook or misunderstand. Those who are unfamiliar with how Texas defines assault could end up accused of criminal activity because of a flirting scenario gone wrong.
Offensive or provocative touch is a form of assault
Flirting can be fun for everyone involved or even a way for service professionals to maximize the tips they receive. Most flirting involves playful banter or non-verbal communication. Simply flirting with a server or another person at a party won’t lead to assault charges. Touching someone in a sexual manner without their consent could.
Some people simply take things too far when flirting, possibly because they perceive the other party as being receptive. Others lash out to retaliate when they sense rejection. Someone might grab another person or even give them what they consider a playful swat on their behind. The perception of the person touched without their permission usually determines if that act is offensive or not.
Especially if the other party is someone doing a job, like a waitress, that unwanted physical contact could very well cross a line. Physical touch intended to provoke or offend someone, including sexual touching, is a form of assault under Texas law.
People who take things too far when meeting someone new or trying to change the dynamic of an existing relationship could end up accused of a criminal offense. Learning about the different definitions of assault in Texas could help people avoid mistakes that might lead to charges.