The Penalties for Assault in Texas

Texas defines simple assault in Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.01 as follows:

  • 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.

In the context of simple assault, bodily injury is defined as a minor injury, such as a bruise or a cut. More serious injuries like broken bones or the loss of a limb — or any injury requiring hospitalization or surgery — are treated as serious bodily injuries and fall under the category of aggravated assault.

While someone who knowingly and intentionally committed assault can be prosecuted for this crime, so can individuals whose reckless behavior rise to the level of assault. For example, if someone pushes their way through a crowd and unintentionally knocks a person to the ground causing injury to that person, this could be categorized as reckless behavior.

A provocative or offensive act does not need to rise to the level of physical injury to be classified as assault. If someone acts in a way that causes another person to feel threatened or uncomfortable — like brushing up against someone that they interpret as sexually suggestive or engaging in an argument where you poke someone in the chest — this can be considered assault.

In Texas, simple assault incidents that cause bodily injury are categorized as Class A misdemeanors except under the following circumstances:

  • the accused knows the victim is a public servant or government contractor working at a correctional facility, secure treatment or rehabilitation facility; emergency services worker or security officer, and
  • the victim is performing his or her duties at the time of the assault and the assault is in retaliation for performing those duties.

Under these circumstances, the assault would be classified as a third degree felony.

Assault that involves threats of physical harm or offensive contact are generally Class C misdemeanors unless the victim is elderly or disabled, the accused knows the victim is a sports official or athlete participating in a sporting event at the time of the assault, or the assault happens in retaliation for a sports official or athlete’s performance during an athletic event.

Domestic assaults — where the accused and the victim are family members or live together — can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.

Whether you are facing a serious federal white-collar prosecution, a state murder charge, or misdemeanor charges, The Cogdell Law Firm has the experience, knowledge and reputation you want for your legal team. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or