Simple Assault | Class C Charges | Texas

Defining simple assault is not that easy. For you to face a simple assault charge, you must have intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

  • injured another person
  • threatened to physically harm that person, or
  • threatened to physically contact that person in a threatening or offensive manner

This definition is so broad that just poking someone on the chest with your finger can be deemed as assault. Even laying your hand on a person, or saying something that sounds threatening can get you into trouble. It doesn’t matter what circumstances led to your assault charge because assault is a criminal offense and you need to avoid a conviction.

Understanding Bodily Injury

Bodily Injury refers to physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.  But simple assault is only applicable when a person gets bruised or scrapped.  Broken bones, disfigurement, loss of limb, or any injury that requires surgery or hospitalization constitutes aggravated assault, not simple assault.

What Does Intentionally, Knowingly Or Recklessly Mean?

In Texas, intentionally harming another person is seen as worse than doing it knowingly or recklessly. An offending individual must have been in these three mental states for them to be charged with simple assault. These three mental states are described in the following ways according to Texas Penal Code Ann. Section 6.03:

(a)  A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to a result of his conduct when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.

(b)  A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or that the circumstances exist.  A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his conduct when he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.

(c)  A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur.  The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.

(d) A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur.  The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.

A simple assault becomes a class C misdemeanor if a person threatened personal harm but no injury or physical contact occurred. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you if you have been charged with simple assault.