Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are separate criminal offenses in other jurisdictions with most common law definitions interpreting the former as usually applying to threats of violence while the latter is what a person is charged with for actual acts that cause bodily injury to another individual. Some states, like Texas, actually make assault and battery a single criminal offense.

Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a) establishes that a person commits the criminal offense of assault if he or she:

  • intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;
  • intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or
  • intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

The extent of an alleged victim's injuries often determines whether assault is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony offense. Because the phrase "bodily injury" is broadly defined under Texas law, people can frequently be arrested for assault even when there are no signs of bodily injuries—or even physical contact.

Attorney for Assault and Battery Arrests in Brownsville, TX

If you were arrested for any kind of alleged assaultive offense anywhere in the Rio Grande Valley area, it is in your best interest to not make any statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. The Gracia Law Firm aggressively defends clients charged with violent crimes in Willacy County, Hidalgo County, and Cameron County.

Brownsville criminal defense attorney Jonathan Gracia has experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle because of his prior role as an Assistant District Attorney for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

You can have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (956) 504-2211 to take advantage of a free initial consultation.


Cameron County Assault and Battery Information Center


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Misdemeanor Assault Penalties in Texas

Misdemeanor criminal assault is commonly referred to as "simple assault." Bodily injury is defined under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) as "physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition."

If a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another individual, including the person's spouse, assault is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Assault is also a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative, and the offense is committed against an elderly individual or disabled individual.

When the alleged victim is not a member of any protected class of individuals, assault is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 if the alleged offender intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse, or intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

Intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily injury is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 if the alleged offense is committed by a person who is not a sports participant against a person the alleged offender knows is a sports participant either:

  • while the participant is performing duties or responsibilities in the participant's capacity as a sports participant; or
  • in retaliation for or on account of the participant's performance of a duty or responsibility within the participant's capacity as a sports participant.

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Brownsville Felony Assault Penalties

An alleged assault in which a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse, can become a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if:

  • A person the alleged offender knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;
  • A person whose relationship to or association with the alleged offender is a dating relationship, family, or household member, if the alleged offender has been previously convicted of an assaultive offense, criminal homicide, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, indecency with a child, or continuous violence against the family against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is a dating relationship, family, or household member, or the alleged offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth;
  • A person who contracts with government to perform a service in a facility as defined by Texas Penal Code § 1.07(a)(14), or Texas Family Code § 51.02(13) or (14), or an employee of that person while the person or employee is engaged in performing a service within the scope of the contract, if the alleged offender knows the person or employee is authorized by government to provide the service, or in retaliation for or on account of the person's or employee's performance of a service within the scope of the contract;
  • A person the alleged offender knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
  • A person the alleged offender knows is emergency services personnel while the person is providing emergency services.

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse, is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if:

  • The alleged offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is dating relationship, family, or household member;
  • The alleged offender has been previously convicted of an assaultive offense, criminal homicide, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, indecency with a child, or continuous violence against the family against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is a dating relationship, family, or household member; and
  • The alleged offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the alleged victim by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth.

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Aggravated Assault Penalties in Texas

A person commits the crime of aggravated assault, as defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.02(a), if he or she commits an assault as defined in Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a) and causes serious bodily injury to the other person or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

Texas Penal Code § 1.07(17) defines a deadly weapon as “a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury,” or “anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.”

Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) defines 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."

Aggravated assault is typically a second-degree felony, but aggravated assault becomes a first-degree felony punishable by a minimum of five years up to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if:

  • The alleged offender uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and causes serious bodily injury to a person whose relationship to or association with the alleged offender a dating relationship, family, or household member;
  • The alleged offense is committed by a public servant acting under color of the servant's office or employment, against a person the alleged offender knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant, in retaliation against or on account of the service of another as a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime, or against a person the alleged offender knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
  • The alleged offender is in a motor vehicle and knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle, is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied, and in discharging the firearm, causes serious bodily injury to any person.

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Cameron County Assault and Battery Resources

Crime Victims' Compensation: Who is eligible? | Texas Attorney General — The Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Fund is administered by the Crime Victims' Compensation Program of the Office of the Attorney General. The Fund provides compensation to victims of violent crimes, such as assaultive offenses. Visit this website to learn more about basic qualification requirements and what crimes are covered.

Community Outreach | United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Texas (USAO-SDTX) — On this section of the USAO-SDTX website, you can learn more about its public safety programming and crime prevention efforts. Operation Weed and Seed, for example, is "a strategy which aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods." You can also find information about additional Department of Justice Crime Prevention strategies and programs.


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The Gracia Law Firm | Brownsville Assault and Battery Defense Attorney

Were you arrested in South Texas for an alleged assault offense? Do not say anything to authorities without first contacting The Gracia Law Firm.

Jonathan Gracia is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Brownsville who represents individuals in communities all over Cameron County, Willacy County, and Hidalgo County.

Call (956) 504-2211 or complete an online contact form right now to receive a free, confidential consultation that will allow our attorney to provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.



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