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The following is for informational purposes only

Assault Causes Bodily Injury

"Bodily Injury" Definition

A person commits an Assault Causing Bodily Injury by deliberately or recklessly causing bodily injuries to another individual. Simply put, Assault Causes Bodily Injury is any violent contact between two people, intended by the offender alone. In an assault case, a “bodily injury” DOES NOT require the injuries to be visible. Many victims think that if their injuries are not visible (such as broken bones, cuts, blood, bruises, scratches, or red marks) they don’t have a case. The legal definition of “bodily injury” refers to the presence of “mere physical pain,” therefore someone could be charged with Assault Causing Bodily Injury if they pulled the victim’s hair or they barely slapped them.


Understanding Assault Causes Bodily Injury Charges


As a Class A misdemeanor, the offense of Assault Causes Bodily Injury carries a fine of up to $4000 and a default punishment of maximum 1 year in county jail. Depending on the accused’s criminal past, which can be found in a criminal record using only the person's name and state they might also be eligible for probation (a Deferred Adjudication Probation or a Straight Probation). When it’s a case of either deferred adjudication or prior convictions, the offender might be subjected to an upgraded crime level. Assault Causing Bodily Harm is a dual or hybrid offense. This means that it can be punishable as an indictable offense (tried by judge and jury) or by a summary conviction (tried only by a judge).

Therefore, this offense allows the accused to choose between the two. The advantage of dealing with it summarily is time: the procedure takes place much faster than with a jury trial. On summary convictions, Assault Causing Bodily Harm is punishable with no more than 18 months behind bars. On indictment, the maximum imprisonment period could reach 10 years.

If the victim is a police officer (therefore, a public servant), the severity of the crime is raised to a third-degree felony called “Assault on a Public Servant.” The same level of elevated harshness is applied for injuring people who belong to protected classes (elderly, children, disabled persons), depending on the extent of the injuries and the offender’s level of intent.


How to Drop Assault Charges

Considering the fact that the alleged victim is often a spouse, it’s not uncommon for them to request to drop the case and move on with their life (sometimes together with the abuser). In many states, the victim of any criminal offense (including Assault Causing Bodily Injury) does not have the legal right to drop the charges. The prosecutor is the only one entitled by law to do so. The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor Assault Causes Bodily Injury charge depends on state law, for instance in Texas is 2 years.


Assault Causing Bodily Injury - Family Violence

A variation of Assault Causing Bodily Injury includes an additional Family Violence allegation, which is by far, the most frequent assaultive crime. The victim of the injuries is a family member, which, by definition includes a current or ex-spouse, someone with whom they had a child, children, anyone sharing the same household as the culprit or a person they’re dating or they used to date. Most cases start with an intense argument between romantic partners that escalates into hitting, pushing, pulling or grabbing until somebody calls the police. Even if the victim doesn’t want to press charges, the state takes over completely in all matters related to Family Violence and the culprit is arrested. They could be released from jail after posting a bond.


Assaulting a Family Member: Consequences


As a result of Assault Causing Bodily Injury - Family Violence charge, the accused will have to accept various restrictions, such as:

  • Not being allowed to return to the same residence as the victim. If the abuser doesn’t comply, they risk being arrested again
  • Protective Orders and Restraining Orders
  • Losing the right to possess a gun
  • Any subsequent convictions of the same category will be much more severe, with the accused risking to face third-degree felony charges
  • Immigration status issues, including exclusion, deportation or denial of naturalization
  • Negative impact upon any child custody case, the division of property in a divorce case, visitation rights to children, the payment of child support and spousal maintenance
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