In Houston and throughout Texas, assault charges can arise out of both serious confrontations and silly acts. Too often, prosecutors are unable to tell the difference. Mr. Pham has consistently worked with clients charged with assaults of varying degrees to achieve the best result possible under their particular circumstances.
Texas law allows a charge of assault if someone causes bodily injury or threatens someone with injury. Furthermore, intent is required. Accidentally causing injury is not an action under Texas law. Finally, if a person engages in physical contact with someone when that person knows that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
The definitions are incredibly broad. That is, someone can be charged with assault if he simply pokes another person in the chest with his finger or if he beats them with a tire iron. Even more frightening, he can be charged with assault under Texas law if he threatens to do either. However, the broad nature of the offense makes it possible for criminal defense attorneys like Mr. Pham set forth equally broad defenses.
Usually, simple assault that results in minor injury is a Class A misdemeanor, with a punishment not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000. But, prosecutors can enhance the case and charge a third-degree felony – 2 to 10 years in a Texas prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000 if the offense is against someone from the same family or with whom they are involved romantically. Additionally, if the assault occurred against a public servant, government worker, or emergency services employee during the course of their employment, the same penalties apply.
The charges and penalties increase substantially if someone is charged with causing serious injury or using a weapon while committing assault. Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony, and the penalty is 2 to 20 years in a Texas prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated assault can become a first-degree felony, with a penalty of 5 years to life, in some cases of domestic violence, or if the assault was committed against a public official, security guard, informant, or witness to a crime.
There are two types of defenses in assault cases: factual and affirmative. A factual defense is essentially that the accused is not the person who committed the assault or that an assault did not occur at all. Often, Mr. Pham has defended cases in Houston where the accused was simply the unfortunate victim of mistaken identity. Affirmative defenses are those that are set forth in the law wherein a person cannot be found guilty if the situation exists. For example, self-defense. If a person reasonably believes that he or she is facing imminent harm to himself or his property, he is entitled to defend himself within reason.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for an assault, and you want an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer, contact Houston assault attorney Michael H. Pham at (713) 236-7791.