What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

While many individuals commonly think of assault and battery as two separate crimes, Texas law has essentially consolidated the two offenses in a single crime that is referred to as assault. The traditional definitions of both assault and battery both appear in the legal definition of assault under Texas law.

Assault occurs when you attempt to injure another person using force or violence, or you intentionally place another person in fear of suffering such harm. A simple assault involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, knowing or intentionally threatening another with imminent bodily harm, or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person that is likely to be perceived as offensive. As you can see, assault may occur whether a person is actually injured or not.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the assault, the offense may be either a misdemeanor or a felony under Texas law. Normally, simple assault that results only in minor injury is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine of not more than $4,000.00. If no injury occurs, simple assault can be a Class C misdemeanor, with less serious penalties. However, the crime may be charged as a third-degree felony if, for instance, it is committed during an incident of domestic violence. Likewise, assault can turn into aggravated assault, which is a felony charge, if, for example, you use a deadly weapon during the incident.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex criminal litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, federal and state criminal appeals and federal and state criminal defense. When you need dedicated legal advice and counsel in a Texas criminal case, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244, email us at dan@cogdell-law.com, or fill out the online form located here.