If you’re like most Houston residents, you’re probably not violent by nature. Sometimes, however, a seemingly minor disagreement, even on your own property, can escalate into a brawl. You defend yourself, perhaps getting in a couple of punches of your own, then somebody – possibly the police – breaks it up and you assume that’s the end of it. Imagine your surprise, then, when you are charged with assault. After all, you were simply defending yourself.
Texas law defines assault broadly to include any of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
As you can see, you can be charged even if you never threw a punch.
Even if the disagreement that led to the incident was seemingly minor, an assault conviction or guilty plea is no small matter. You can be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $500 and, in more severe cases, to serve jail time.
Crimes of violence such as assault draw public and the prosecutor’s attention and often are vigorously pursued. Witnesses often tell conflicting stories about who started the melee, and the decision whether to proceed often turns on whose version of events the prosecutor believes. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can often get charges reduced or even dismissed if he can convince the prosecutor that you didn’t instigate the fight and were only defending yourself.
If you have been arrested or charged with assault in the Houston area, it’s important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call the law offices of George Napier at (713) 470-4097 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.