Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault in Texas
While assault and battery are considered separate offenses in other states, they are used interchangeably in Texas to mean assault. There are two types of assault charges in the Lone Star State: simple assault and aggravated assault.
In Texas, simple assault is defined as knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causing or threatening to inflict harm to someone else, or knowingly or intentionally engaging in offensive or provocative contact with another person (e.g., “getting in someone’s space,” poking another individual in the chest during an argument, or brushing up against someone in a sexual manner).
If simple assault only involves threats of injury or offensive contact, then the offense is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500. If simple assault involves assaulting an athlete or sports official, then the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.
Lastly, if simple assault results in bodily injury, then the offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
However, simple assault can also be charged as a third-degree felony—punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000—if the alleged victim is one of the following parties:
- A pregnant person
- A public servant
- A security officer
- Emergency services personnel (e.g., EMT or firefighter)
- A government employee
- A contractor at a correctional or rehabilitation facility
Furthermore, if a person commits simple assault against a police officer or court judge, the offense is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Keep in mind, a conviction can also result in victim restitution, in addition to jail/prison time, fines, and a criminal record.
Aggravated assault in Texas involves the following aggravating factors:
- Serious bodily injury – Defined as a long-term injury. Common examples of serious bodily injury include broken or fractured bones, disfigurement or scarring, or permanent disability.
- Deadly weapon – Defined as any object used to inflict serious bodily injury or death. Common examples of deadly weapons include firearms, knives, rope, metal pipes, baseball bats, rocks, or bricks.
Aggravated assault that involves a deadly weapon or causing serious injury is a second-degree felony. However, if aggravated assault involves domestic violence in which a deadly weapon caused serious harm, then the offense is a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.