ASSAULT OFFENSES

TEXAS PENAL CODE
TITLE 5. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON
CHAPTER 22. ASSAULT OFFENSES

The following is a brief explanation of Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code regarding Assaultive Offenses. This is not to be construed as legal advice for any particular case. See also the full text of the Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses.

What is ASSAULT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of ASSAULT in Texas.

Under Section 22.01, ASSAULT is defined in three separate ways, as follows:

  • ASSAULT is committed by intentionally hurting another person in a physical way; intentionally being the reason why another person gets physically hurt; or by acting in a way that ignores safety and causes another person to be physically hurt. A person hurting or harming his or her own spouse in these ways also qualifies as ASSAULT.
  • ASSAULT is committed by intentionally threatening to physically hurt another person in a way that makes the victim feel that the threat is about to be carried out immediately. A person threatening his or her own spouse in this way also commits ASSAULT.
  • ASSAULT is committed by a person intentionally touching another person directly or indirectly with an object, when the person knows or should know that the other person does not want to be touched that way and will be offended or provoked.

In general, ASSAULT is a class A misdemeanor.

However, ASSAULT is a third-degree felony when committed in the following circumstances:

  • The offender assaults a government employee while that employee is on duty, or to retaliate against a government employee for actions taken by that employee in their official government role.
  • The offender commits assault against a family member, a dating partner, or any person who lives in the same household with the offender if the state has previously convicted the offender of a serious crime such as murder, kidnapping, or abuse of any person in the same three categories of people.
  • The offender commits assault against a family member, a dating partner, or any person who lives in the same household with the offender if the offender tries to choke or smother the victim, whether intentionally or recklessly.
  • The offender commits assault against a contractor while that person is working for the government in a jail, prison, or any other detention facility, or to retaliate against a contractor for actions taken by the contractor while working for the government in a jail, prison, or any other detention facility.
  • The offender commits assault against a security officer while that person is on duty performing security activities.
  • The offender commits assault against firefighters, medical emergency technicians, or other people acting as emergency personnel while they are working to deliver emergency services to the public.

In other circumstances, ASSAULT can be a Class C misdemeanor, a Class B misdemeanor, or a second-degree felony.

What is SEXUAL ASSAULT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of SEXUAL ASSAULT in Texas.

Under Section 22.011, SEXUAL ASSAULT is defined in two separate ways, as follows:

  • SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by intentionally engaging in certain sexual acts with another adult person without that person’s permission. The acts include having vaginal or anal sex, penetrating a person vaginally or anally with any object or item, engaging in oral sex with another person, or making or causing someone to engage in vaginal, anal, or oral sex with another person.
  • A second way of committing SEXUAL ASSAULT is for an adult to act, perform, or engage with a child in any of the ways listed in the paragraph above. Even if the child gives the adult permission, an adult commits SEXUAL ASSAULT on a child when they commit the acts listed above.

An offender does not have a person’s consent to engage in sexual activity if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • Forcing a victim to submit by physical force or violence.
  • Threatening a victim with physical force or violence and the victim believes the offender can carry out the threat.
  • Performing prohibited sex acts on an unconscious victim or a victim who cannot resist.
  • Performing prohibited sex acts on a victim with mental impairment who does not understand what the offender is doing to him or her, or who cannot resist.
  • Performing prohibited sex acts on a person who is unaware the sex act is occurring.
  • Intentionally drugging a person with a substance, sometimes called the “date rape drug”, which causes the other person to be impaired so the offender can have sex with the drugged person.
  • Forcing the victim to comply by threatening another person with physical force or violence if the victim refuses.
  • Using one’s position as a public servant to force or compel a person to submit to prohibited sex acts.
  • Using one’s position as a doctor, psychiatrist, or any other physical or mental health professional to coerce a current or former patient to submit to prohibited sexual acts.
  • Using one’s position as a clergyman to exploit a person’s spiritual vulnerability to get that person to submit to prohibited sexual acts.
  • Using one’s position as an employee of a facility such as assisted living, nursing home, or other care facility to sexually exploit a resident of the facility.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on elements that are summarized as follows:

  1. Was the difference between the offender’s age and the victim’s age small enough?
  2. Was the offender free of reportable convictions and not a registered sex offender for life?
  3. Was the victim 14 years of age or older and the offender and victim were legally free (not already married to another, not closely related, etc.) to marry each other?

The offender may have a defense against this charge in relation to a child based on being married to the child at the time of the offense.

SEXUAL ASSAULT is a second-degree felony. It is a first degree-felony if the offender commits the offense against someone who he could not legally marry.

What is AGGRAVATED ASSAULT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT in Texas.

Section 22.01 describes the offense of ASSAULT. Under Section 22.02, an ASSAULT is raised to a more serious offense by the following two circumstances:

  • AGGRAVATED ASSAULT is committed by causing a person to be badly injured during the assault. This includes serious injuries caused to a spouse.
  • AGGRAVATED ASSAULT is committed using a deadly weapon or by showing a deadly weapon during the assault.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT is a second-degree felony.

In the following circumstances, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT is raised to a first-degree felony:

  • The offender commits aggravated assault against a family member, a dating partner, or any person who lives in the same household with the offender.
  • The offender who commits the aggravated assault is a government employee who uses his government position or authority to set up the circumstances that lead to the assault.
  • The offender commits aggravated assault against a government employee while that employee is on duty, or to retaliate against a government employee for actions taken by that employee in their official government role.
  • The offender commits aggravated assault to retaliate against a witness, potential witness, informant, or other person reporting criminal activity.
  • The offender commits aggravated assault against a security officer while that person is on duty performing security activities.
  • The offender commits aggravated assault by doing a drive-by shooting or a road rage shooting, where the target is a building or another car and someone is badly injured in the shooting.

What is AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT in Texas.

Section 22.011 describes the offense of SEXUAL ASSAULT. Under Section 22.021, a SEXUAL ASSAULT is raised to a more serious offense by the following eight circumstances:

  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT occurs by committing a sexual assault that causes a person to be badly injured or by trying to kill the victim or another person during the sexual assault.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT occurs by committing a sexual assault with a deadly weapon or by showing a deadly weapon during the assault.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by using words or acts to threaten to kill, seriously injure, or kidnap the victim or any other person and the threat causes the victim to be afraid. This is true whether the words and acts are directed at the victim or whether they simply occur in the victim’s presence.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by using or showing a deadly weapon during a sexual assault.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by working with another offender to commit a sexual assault.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by drugging another person with a “date rape drug” to commit a sexual assault against that person.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by sexually assaulting a victim under the age of 14.
  • AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is committed by sexually assaulting an elderly victim, age 65 and older, or a disabled person who is functionally limited in providing their own care due to physical or mental conditions.

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT is a first-degree felony.

The punishment must be a minimum term of 25 years in two circumstances:

  1. The offender sexually assaulted a child younger than 6 years of age.
  2. The offender sexually assaulted a child younger than 14 years of age and tried to seriously harm the child or tried to kill the child or another person during the sexual assault.

What is INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL, OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL, OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL in Texas.

Under Section 22.04, INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL, OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL is defined in two ways as follows:

  • INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL, OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL is committed by causing serious physical injuries or serious mental injuries to a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. A person commits the offense whether they cause the harm intentionally, by being reckless, or by being extremely careless. A person commits the offense whether they do something to cause the injury or whether they fail to do something that leads to the injury.
  • An owner, operator, or employee of a nursing home, mental treatment facility, or other types of care centers for children, the elderly, and the disabled can commit this offense. This offense applies if the owner, operator, or employee has a legal duty to act or they have assumed the responsibility for caring for the child, elderly person, or disabled person. INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL, OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL is committed by causing serious physical injuries or serious mental injuries to a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. A person commits the offense whether they cause the harm intentionally, by being reckless, or by being extremely careless. A person commits the offense whether they do something to cause the injury or whether they fail to do something that leads to the injury.

For this offense, a child is a person under 14 years of age, an elderly individual is a person 65 years of age and older, and a disabled person is a person 14 years of age and older with autism, an intellectual or developmental disability, a severe emotional disturbance, a traumatic brain injury, or otherwise is limited in his or her ability to provider self-care.

INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL, OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL is a state jail felony, third-degree felony, second-degree felony, or first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on elements that are summarized as follows:

  1. The offender notified the child, elderly, or disabled person in a face-to-face manner that care would be ending.
  2. The offender notified the parent or other responsible person over the child, elder, or disabled person, in writing, that care would be ending.
  3. The offender notified Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services in writing that care would be ending.
  4. Written notice includes name and address of the offender; the name and address of the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual; the type of care provided by the actor; and the date the care would be discontinued.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on four circumstances summarized as follows:

  1. Harm is caused by the offender acting or not acting in ways that are accepted tenets and practices of a religion. The accepted tenets and practices should be known as acceptable ways of healing.
  2. Harm is caused by the family violence of a third person on a victim but the offender charged with not acting for the victim was not aware of the harm caused by the third party.
  3. Harm is caused to an child but the offender was not more than three years older than the victim at the time of the offense
  4. Harm is caused to a disabled individual that the offender did not know and could not reasonably have known the individual was a disabled individual at the time of the offense.

What is ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD in Texas.

Section 22.041 describes the offense of ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD and is committed in two ways as follows:

  • ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD is committed by a person who has control of and responsibility for a child under age 15, who leaves that child in a place without providing reasonable care for the child and the circumstances put the child at unreasonable risk.
  • ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD is committed by a person who intentionally does something to a child under age 15 that puts the child in immediate danger of death, serious injury, or physical or mental harm. A person also commits this crime by failing to do something regarding the child that puts the child in immediate danger. A person also commits this crime by acting recklessly or by being extremely negligent, which causes the child to be in immediate danger.

ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD is a state jail felony, third-degree felony, or a second-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

What is DEADLY CONDUCT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of DEADLY CONDUCT in Texas.

Section 22.05 describes the offense of DEADLY CONDUCT in two ways as follows:

  • DEADLY CONDUCT is committed by acting recklessly and doing acts that put others in immediate danger of being seriously injured. Pointing a gun at another person is reckless behavior even if the pointer does not think the gun is loaded.
  • DEADLY CONDUCT is committed by shooting a gun at or in the direction of another person. A person also commits this crime by shooting the gun at or in the direction of a house, building, or vehicle if the shooter does not first make sure that the target location is unoccupied.

DEADLY CONDUCT is a Class A misdemeanor or a third degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

What is TERRORISTIC THREAT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of TERRORISTIC THREAT in Texas.

Section 22.07 describes the offense of TERRORISTIC THREAT.:

TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed in six ways as follows:

  • TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed by threatening violence toward any person or place that causes emergency personnel to respond to the threatened act.
  • TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed by threatening violence toward any person or place to cause another person to be afraid of being seriously injured.
  • TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed by threatening violence toward any person or place to force people to avoid or to evacuate a building open to the public or a public transportation system.
  • TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed by threatening violence toward any person or place to disrupt utility services (such as electric power supply), public transportation, public communications, or any other public service.
  • TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed by threatening violence toward any person or place to cause the public at large to be afraid of serious injury.
  • TERRORISTIC THREAT is committed by threatening violence toward any person or place to influence the activities of any part of the federal, state, or local government.

TERRORISTIC THREAT is a Class B misdemeanor, a Class A misdemeanor, state jail felony, or a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

What is AIDING SUICIDE?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of AIDING SUICIDE in Texas.

Section 22.08 describes the offense of AIDING SUICIDE.:

AIDING SUICIDE is committed by intentionally helping or attempting to help another person actually commit suicide or attempt suicide.

AIDING SUICIDE is a Class C misdemeanor. If the offender’s help actually leads to suicide or the attempted suicide leaves the person seriously injured from the failed suicide attempt, the offense is a state jail felony.

What is TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT in Texas.

Section 22.09 describes the offense of TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT in two ways as follows:

  • TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT is committed by altering or adding any substance to food or drugs that are supposed to be sold to the public or given to others as gifts.
  • TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT is committed by threatening to alter or add any substance to food or drugs that are supposed to be sold to the public or given to others as gifts. The offender commits the offense if the goal of the threat is to cause public fear, to affect a store or manufacturer’s ability to sell the food or drugs, or to seriously injure others.

TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT is a third-degree felony, second-degree felony, or a first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

What is LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE in Texas.

Section 22.10 describes the offense of LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE.

LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE is committed by intentionally leaving a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes. This offense applies if the child who is left in the vehicle is younger than seven years of age and no one else stays in the car to watch the child who is 14 years of age or older.

LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE is a Class C misdemeanor.

What is HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT?

Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT in Texas.

Section 22.11 describes the offense of HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT in two ways as follows:

  • HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT is committed by a prisoner or detainee putting any fluid or substance that comes from a body (blood, feces, saliva, etc.) on another person to harass or startle that person.
  • HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT is committed by a prisoner or detainee putting or causing any fluid or substance that comes from a body (blood, feces, saliva, etc.) on any personnel working for the facility to harass or startle that worker.

HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT is a third degree felony.

FORT WORTH

Primary Location
209 W. 8th St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
817.993.9249

KELLER

*By Appointment Only
204 S. Main St #195
Keller, Texas 76248
817.482.6770

RELATED POSTS