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A comparison of misdemeanor and felony assault

When an attack or altercation breaks out in Texas and authorities file assault charges, the circumstances of the situation will determine the severity of the alleged offense. The extent of harm caused and the target of the violence or threat play significant roles in the application of the laws.

In general, an assault would be a Class A misdemeanor when a person "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" inflicts physical injury on a person or threatens to do it, according to the penal code. Additionally, physical contact that a reasonable person would consider upsetting or provocative counts as misdemeanor assault. Such actions committed against a public servant, like uniformed emergency services personnel, would escalate the charge to a third degree felony. The same level of felony occurs if the assault targets a family member or date and the accused person has been previously convicted of an assault or attempted to choke the person.

If the assault results in serious bodily injury to the target or the person uses a deadly weapon in the attack, then the charge of second degree felony assault would apply. First degree felony assault charges could be aimed at a person who meets these standards and attacked a family member, date or public servant or sought to intimidate a witness to a crime.

A person who has been taken into custody on assault charges may want to have the assistance of a criminal defense in combating them. If felony charges have been issued, then the attorney might examine the evidence closely to see if the defendant's alleged actions meet every standard of the penal code for such a charge. Any shortcomings in the evidence could be used by the attorney to request a reduction of charges to a misdemeanor.

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