What You Need to Know If You’re Facing Assault Allegations
Dallas Assault Lawyer
Assault charges are very serious in nature. Assault charges can range from as low as a class c misdemeanor (punishable by up to a $500 fine but no jail time) all the way up to a first-degree felony (punishable by 5-99 years or up to life imprisonment and an optional fine up to $10,000.00). Facing an assault allegation can be extremely frightening. Besides the serious penalties, assault can cause long term negative effects on your career and your personal reputation. Facing the criminal justice system, especially for the first time, can also be extraordinarily frustrating – to have people assume the worst about you, to enter a slow and often unfair system, and to face a process completely foreign and unknown to you. Having Mike Howard, an experienced Dallas assault lawyer, in your corner can make all the difference.
When you or a loved one is facing an assault case, you need a knowledgable Dallas assault lawyer on your side to help give you peace of mind, navigate the system, and get you the best possible result. Every case is different; there is no cookie-cutter approach that works for every person and every charge. You need a Dallas assault lawyer who knows the law, knows the judge and prosecutor, knows the system and how to navigate it to achieve the results you need. I have acted as a Dallas assault lawyer defending people accused of assault, people just like you, for 15+ years, winning all sorts of fantastic results such as not-guilty verdicts, dismissals, deferred probations, and time-served sentences.
Learn More About Assault
There are several different types of assault charges in Texas. The most common assault charge is assault causing bodily injury. This is when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another. Bodily injury doesn’t necessarily mean bruises, cuts, and broken bones; in Texas, it simply means anything that causes the person pain. It’s incredibly subjective – if someone says you slapped them or even poked them and it caused pain, even when there’s no visible sign, that can be assault in Texas. Assault causing bodily injury is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to a $4,000.00 fine, and up to two years probation. If assault causing bodily injury is committed against the person’s spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, family member, or roommate, the court can add an affirmative finding of family violence. While a family violence finding doesn’t add to the punishment range for assault causing bodily injury, it carries its own very serious consequences. Family violence charges can not be nondisclosed (sealed) and can prevent the actor from owning or possessing a firearm.
Another common type of assault is assault impeding breathing or circulation. This is a family violence assault where the actor impedes the normal breathing or circulation of a person. The extra impeding breathing or circulation allegation raises this type of assault to a third-degree felony, punishable by 2-10 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, and/or up to 10 years of probation.
Aggravated assault is when an assault either results in serious bodily injury or is carried out with a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault is generally a second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, and/or up to 10 years of probation (but in certain cases it can become a first-degree felony).
What If They Want to Drop the Case?
One of the most common misnomers in criminal law is that the “victim” of an assault can just drop the case. They cannot. Once the police are called an assault case takes a mind of its own. A criminal case is styled “The State of Texas versus [the accused]” not the “victim” versus the accused. What this means is the government can and will try to force, sometimes by threats and even intimidation, the “victim” to prosecute even if they don’t want to do so. When people try to handle an assault case without the experience of a knowledgeable Dallas assault lawyer they often make the mistake of assuming once the “victim” says they want to drop the case (or fills out an affidavit of nonprosecution) that it will come to an end. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You need a Dallas assault lawyer to evaluate the case, talk to possible witnesses, and decide an approach specifically tailored to your case.
Should I Give My Side of the Story?
If the police didn’t talk to you when they were called out to the scene, sometimes a police detective may follow up with you to “get your side of the story.” Be extremely careful. Remember that the police detective is not – no matter what they say – on your side. Their job is to investigate and arrest people accused of assault. They have tremendous pressure on them to “believe the victim.” They may say that they’re just trying to get your side of the story, they may even say that they don’t believe the accuser and need you to talk to them to “clear this up.” Not every interaction with a detective is a trap, of course, but the problem is you often don’t know until its too late. Don’t assume they are on your side; assume they’re just doing their job which is to prosecute you. Never talk to the police without first talking to a Dallas assault lawyer to understand the implications of talking and remaining silent as well as strategies for protecting yourself.
About Dallas Assault Lawyer Mike Howard
I strive to help my clients through difficult times with compassion and integrity. I pride myself on standing up for people facing criminal accusations and helping them navigate all that comes with being thrown into the criminal justice system: the power of the police and prosecution bearing down on them, the fear of the unknown, and the high stakes of possibly losing their liberty. I understand that innocent people get accused, charged, and convicted when they don’t have someone standing with and fighting for them. I focus on my clients as people by taking the time to understand not just the facts of their case, but who they are and what they need. Knowing that the legal process of a criminal case can be intimidating, I explain the process, my client’s legal rights, and their options. And perhaps more important than anything else, I am willing to fight a case in the courtroom and have a track record of delivering fantastic results at trial. Not every client and case needs to go to trial, but when your lawyer has a reputation as a skillful trial lawyer who fights for their clients, it makes all the difference in the world.