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Updated: Jul 3, 2024 @ 6:26 am

Defense Strategies for Assault Cases

In Texas, a person can be charged with assault for actions ranging from simple assaults, like threats or minor physical contact, to aggravated assaults involving serious bodily injury or the use of a deadly weapon.

Chapter 22 of Title 5 of the Texas Penal Code covers assaultive offenses, definitions, and criminal penalties. Texas law distinguishes between various degrees of assault and associated criminal penalties for individuals convicted in the court of law.

Galveston criminal defense lawyers Tad Nelson & Amber SpurlockIf you’re seeking legal representation in Galveston County following criminal charges for assault, contact Galveston criminal defense lawyers Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock to schedule your free consultation to review the matter.

We can be reached at 409-765-5614, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

In the meantime, let’s do a quick review of assault cases to help you learn more about how they’re legal defined along with a few potential legal defenses.

Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

In Texas, a simple assault occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, causes physical contact with another that is provocative or offensive, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.

Aggravated assault cases involve causing serious bodily injury to another person or exhibiting or using a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

Penalties Following Assault Convictions

Depending on the situation, the criminal classification of an assaultive offense can range from misdemeanor to felony of the first degree. Domestic assault charges are handled a bit differently in that the first offense can be classified as a misdemeanor. However, any second offense, no matter how minor, will be classified as a felony.

Misdemeanor Assault Cases

A simple assault might be classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the offense is punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $4,000.

Felony Assault Cases

Aggravated assault offenses are usually classified as a second-degree felony. If convicted of the offense, penalties range from 2 to 20 years in prison with fines up to $10,000.

In some circumstances, such as assault on a public servant or an extremely violent crime, the classification of the offense can elevate to a first-degree felony. A conviction on a first-degree felony can lead to life imprisonment. The punishment range for a felony conviction is 5-to-99 years.

Potential Defense Strategies

As experienced Galveston criminal defense lawyers, we’ve had extensive experience defending people charged with assaultive offenses in Galveston County and throughout the Greater Houston area.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common defenses we’ve used to help our clients get their cases dismissed or a not-guilty verdict at trial.

The “Self-Defense” Defense

A claim of self-defense is a common strategy for fighting these cases. Usually, when there’s an incident, police don’t always arrest the right party or have a full working knowledge of the situation.

If you were mistakenly arrested for an assaultive offense, Texas law permits individuals to use force to protect themselves from harm.

To invoke the “self-defense” defense, you must demonstrate the following:

  • You reasonably believed force was immediately necessary to protect yourself.
  • The force used was proportionate to the threat.

The “Defense of Others” Defense

Similar to self-defense, if you used force to protect another person from harm, you can claim that you were defending someone. To use this defense in a Texas courtroom, you’ll need to show that:

  • You reasonably believed the other person was in immediate danger.
  • The force used was necessary and proportionate to the threat against the other person.

Lack of Intent

In order to secure a conviction in a Texas courtroom, the prosecution must prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

If we can show that your actions were accidental or lacked the intent to cause harm, this could be a strong defense. For instance, if the alleged assault occurred during an unexpected physical encounter where you did not intend any harm, this defense could work for us.


In some cases, you might argue that the alleged victim consented to the conduct. This defense is particularly relevant in situations involving physical interactions that could be misinterpreted as assault. In Texas, mutual combat is 100% lawful. So, a mutual combat agreement can be argued as consent in court.

However, in most cases, proving consent can be challenging. As usual, it depends on the specifics of the case.

Mistaken Identity

Eyewitness misidentification can lead to wrongful accusations.

Were You There?

If you have an alibi or evidence that places you elsewhere at the time of the alleged assault, this defense can be effective. Surveillance footage, witness statements, and other forms of evidence can support your claim.

Were Your Rights Violated?

Beyond the specific defenses we discussed above, violations of your Constitutional Rights can play a major part in your defense. Let’s review a few of your rights to get you up to speed.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, you’re protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. If evidence was obtained unlawfully, it might be excluded from the trial. This exclusion can weaken the prosecution’s case significantly, leading to a full dismissal of the criminal charge.

Right to Counsel

Your Sixth Amendment right to legal representation could also come into play. If you were denied access to an attorney or coerced into making statements without legal counsel, we might have the basis of a defense.

Facing Assault Charges in Galveston?

Talk with a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

Attorneys Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock

Given the nature of assault charges and the potential consequences, having a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side can benefit your situation.

Studies have shown that legal representation significantly impacts the outcomes of criminal cases.

According to the Liberty Law Center, defendants represented by attorneys are likely to get a far better outcome than a person who goes another route.

Additionally, the National Institute of Justice reports that wrongful convictions due to eyewitness misidentification are common. This highlights the importance of securing legal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to challenge such evidence effectively.

At Tad Nelson & Associates, we have extensive experience defending clients against assault charges. Our team, led by Board Certified® Criminal Law Attorney Tad Nelson, is committed to providing the highest level of defense possible.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today!

Contact Tad Nelson & Associates

If you’re facing assault charges in Galveston County, we’re ready to provide you with a strong defense tailored to your unique situation.

LEARN MORE: 5 Key Factors for Beating Galveston Criminal Charges

Contact Tad Nelson & Associates at 409-765-5614 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

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