Assault on a peace officer is a serious offense in Texas, carrying significant legal consequences for those convicted. It is crucial for anyone facing such charges to understand the legal elements, penalties, and potential consequences of this crime, as well as how a skilled criminal defense attorney can help. In this blog post, we will discuss these aspects in detail and provide valuable insights into navigating the criminal justice system in Texas.
Legal Elements of Assault on a Peace Officer
To be convicted of assault on a peace officer in Texas, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily injury to a peace officer;
- The peace officer was lawfully discharging an official duty at the time of the assault; and
- The defendant knew or had reason to know that the victim was a peace officer.
It is important to note that Texas Penal Code §22.01 defines "bodily injury" as any physical pain, illness, or impairment of physical condition. This means that even minor injuries can lead to charges of assault on a peace officer.
What are the Penalties for Assault on a Peace Officer?
The penalties for assault on a peace officer in Texas vary depending on the severity of the injury and the defendant's criminal history. Generally, this offense is classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by:
- 2 to 10 years in prison;
- A fine of up to $10,000; and
- Possible restitution to the victim.
However, if the assault resulted in serious bodily injury or involved using a deadly weapon, the offense may be elevated to a first-degree felony, carrying a potential prison sentence of 5 to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Additionally, a conviction for assault on a peace officer can have long-lasting consequences, such as:
- Difficulty finding employment;
- Loss of professional licenses;
- Loss of the right to possess a firearm; and
- Damage to one's reputation and relationships.
Defending Against Assault on a Peace Officer Charges
Given the serious penalties and consequences associated with a conviction for assault on a peace officer, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is essential. A skilled attorney can carefully review the facts of your case and develop a strong defense strategy. Some potential defenses may include the following:
- Arguing that the peace officer was not lawfully discharging an official duty at the time of the alleged assault;
- Challenging the assertion that the defendant knew or had reason to know that the victim was a peace officer;
- Presenting evidence of self-defense or defense of others;
- Attacking the credibility of witnesses; and
- Highlighting inconsistencies in the prosecution's case.
If you have been charged with assault on a peace officer in Texas, it is crucial to act quickly to protect your rights and build the best possible defense. Alexander J. Houthuijzen, Attorney-at-Law, has extensive experience handling criminal defense cases, including those involving an assault on a peace officer. He is dedicated to providing aggressive representation and personalized attention to each client, working tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact Alexander J. Houthuijzen, Attorney-at-Law, today to schedule a FREE consultation!