Houston is one of many global cities across the world. This is for good reason as it has an enormous economic and cultural footprint. It’s sad then to realize that Houston is located in the state which ranks 2nd in the number of assault cases in the United States.
In 2020 itself, Houston has seen a 12% increase in cases of assault, as reported by the HPD. People are more concerned now about their legal remedies as they try to understand what to look for in a typical Houston assault lawyer.
What Is Assault
Assault is a serious issue in Texas. It is the direct cause of one of the highest arrest rates in Houston. This is mostly due to how assault is defined under Texas State law. In Houston, you could be guilty of assault if you knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally:
- Cause bodily injury to another individual
- Threaten another person with bodily injury
- Cause physical contact with another individual with the reasonable knowledge that the other person would consider that contact provocative or offensive
This definition is so broad that you could easily think that you could be guilty of assault. So let’s try to break this down and fully understand what the law means.
An injury is the direct result of bodily harm. An injury is defined in the Texas Penal Code as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition”. If the victim’s experience meets these criteria, it is considered an injury. Even minor scrapes and bruises can be classified under this definition. However, if the bodily injury is severe and involves hospitalization, it becomes aggravated assault.
Intent, knowledge, and recklessness have differing penalties and definitions in Houston. Any one of these states of mind is essential for convicting a person for assault. They are defined as:
- Having the intent or desire to cause bodily harm to another individual
- Having complete knowledge of your actions concerning your circumstances and the nature of your conduct that results in causing injury
- Being reckless to such a degree where it is apparent to any ordinary person that your recklessness would cause injury
In the case of recklessness, the victim must have suffered some form of physical injury.
Neither the words offensive nor provocative have been defined statutorily. These terms may not refer to physical injury or bodily harm. These terms are used when the victim feels violated or offended by the physical contact.
Touching someone in a sexually inappropriate manner, standing very close to a person by obstructing their path aggressively, or even poking someone with intimidation can be considered provocative and offensive.
In Houston, the penalty is awarded after determining the class of the charge ranging from misdemeanors to full-fledged felonies:
- Class A Misdemeanor is when the assault is targeted towards the elderly or disabled resulting in up to 1 year of prison time and fines up to $4000
- Class B Misdemeanor is when the assault happens in sporting events resulting in up to 6 months of jail time and fines up to $2000
- Class C Misdemeanor is when there is the threat of injury or provocative contact without actual physical harm resulting in fines up to $500
- A second-degree felony is when the victim of the assault is a judge or a peace officer on duty resulting in 2-20 years of jail time and up to $10,000 in fines.
- A third-degree felony is when the victim is a government official, contractor, security officer; emergency services staff or, public servant resulting in 2-10 years of jail time with up to $10,000 in fines.
These are trying times for Houston, with heavy spikes in assault rates and cases of domestic violence. If you’ve or know someone who has suffered assault, then waste no time in contacting the right Houston Assault Lawyer to get the legal remedies that are at your disposal.