In Texas, Assault Charges can be classified as Class C misdemeanors all the way up to First Degree Felonies. For Class C misdemeanor assault, citations are issued and defendants are required to return to court to answer the complaint.
CLASS C ASSAULT ATTORNEY FAQs
Class C Assault is also considered “Assault by Threat” or “Assault by Offensive Contact.” In other words, you don’t have to cause any physical damage or even touch someone to be convicted of Class C Assault.
Have you been charged with Class C Assault in Texas? Call criminal defense lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.
Class C Assault is actually a very serious charge, as explained below. It is even more serious if the Family Violence enhancement is added. You should not plead guilty to a Class C Assault without the advice of an attorney. However, if you have already plead guilty, you may be able to withdraw your plea if you act very quickly.
If you are a professional, have a pending family law case, are a federal employee or need to pass a federal background check – skip down to learn about why it’s important to hire a lawyer who understands the connection between expunctions and Class C Assault under special conditions.
Class C Assault is described in Section 22.01(a)(2) and (3) of the Texas Penal Code.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person: …
(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
(3) 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.
People are often caught by surprise when they receive a citation for Class C Assault because they had little or no police contact before the charge was filed. A Class C misdemeanor assault charge can be filed against you solely based off of the words of the accuser.
Often the police will take a statement without giving the accused a chance to counter the statement and issue an assault citation. This is common policy for the police departments when making a house call for an alleged assault.
You can be charged for an assault by mere words, or simple physical contact that someone finds offensive or provocative.
If the municipal prosecuting attorney believes from the statements or police report that each element of 22.01(a)(2) or (3) has been met, you can be charged.
A conviction for Class C Assault is punishable by a maximum fine of $500.1 Although the fine is relatively low, the collateral effect of having an assault conviction on your record may have serious severe effects. For instance many employers and private business may exclude those convicted of an assault charge from employment or services. In addition, it may have an impact on your concealed carry permit or ability to own or purchase a firearm.
A finding of family violence may also be added to the charge under particular circumstances and will increase the collateral damages incurred by the defendant.
Family Violence is defined by Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code as
(1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
(2) abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), and (K), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or
(3) dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021.
A finding of family violence can be added to a charge if the victim is a family member. However, one must be careful as the Texas Statute broadly construes family violence to cover more than just family members. In addition to family members, victims who are dating or had previously dated2 the defendant and victims that were roommates or former roommates3 of the defendant can be used to enhance the charge to Assault Family Violence.
In addition to a fine and a conviction on a criminal record, a finding of family violence in an assault case can have other ramifications. These include:
- A prohibition on owning or possessing firearms and ammunition
- Restrictions on trade or professional licenses
- An enhancement on future family violence misdemeanors to felonies
- Denial of child custody and visitation rights
- Exclusion from applying for nondisclosure of records
If you have been charged with a Class C Assault and are convicted, your conviction will remain on your record barring special circumstances. However, because this is a class C misdemeanor, prosecutors have discretion to offer deferred adjudication. If this probation is successfully completed it would result in a dismissal of the charge. Doing this would allow an expunction of the charge from your criminal record, which can all record of the incident, however not all expunctions are created equal – and not all dismissals are treated the same.
For thee reasons, you should always hire a lawyer to handle your Class C Assault case. And if you have a special need to ensure that your record remains crystal clear (for instance: you have a pending a divorce or child custody case; you have a security clearance; you have a job that requires a license or are subject to regulation, like nursing, physicians, engineers or plumbers; you have a pending immigration case or you have any need to pass a federal background check or you are a federal employee), then you should always hire a lawyer who has expertise in high-stakes expunctions. Learn more about expunctions
1Texas Penal Code Section 12.23
2Texas Family Code Section 71.0021(a)(1)(A)
3Texas Family Code Section 71.006