Assault vs. Aggravated Assault: The Difference and Why It Matters
Assault is a common criminal charge in Texas but one that few people understand. Texas has a variety of assault charges categorized by numerous factors, including the facts and circumstances of the offense. Many people are familiar with the term “aggravated assault” but might not know how it’s distinguished from assault. To illustrate the primary differences, let’s take a look at how Texas defines these two offenses.
Defining Assault and Aggravated Assault
Texas defines assault as:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly threatening another with imminent bodily injury, or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when that person knows or should reasonably believe the person would regard the contact as offensive or provocative in nature
Aggravated assault is legally defined as committing an act of assault, as defined above, and:
- Causing serious bodily injury to another, or
- Using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault
To better understand the difference between these two charges, we’ll also define serious bodily injury.
Texas statute defines a serious bodily injury as:
- Bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
In Texas, you can commit assault even if you don’t physically injure the victim. For example, you could face assault charges for something as minor as a shove. Conversely, for a court to convict you of aggravated assault, you must have either caused serious bodily injury or used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the assault.
These definitions should give you a better idea of the differences between assault and aggravated assault. If you are facing charges of assault, aggravated assault or assault family violence, you should work closely with a Texas assault defense attorney. These cases can be very fact specific, especially when trying to prove serious bodily injury. Thus, always speak with an attorney to learn about the important elements in your case and the evidentiary rules that could help or hurt your chances of clearing your name.
If you’re facing assault charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can move on with your life. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email email@example.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.