Killeen Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys

Handling felony assault charges in Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and across Central Texas

Conviction of felony assault charges can lead to serious consequences, and our state has a notoriously harsh criminal justice system. However, it’s not uncommon for many people to face false charges or overly zealous prosecutors. Sometimes completely innocent people are in the wrong place at the wrong time, improperly identified by witnesses, or experience having their civil rights violated by authorities. Many times, the prosecution can’t prove its case.

The Killeen criminal defense attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm can help fight the charges if you’ve been accused of or arrested for felony assault. We work to reduce the charges against you or fight for an acquittal. Our legal team will put you at ease and keep you informed, while providing a tough, strong defense.

What is an assault charge in Texas?

According to the Texas penal code, there are a variety of types of assault with which you may be charged, categorized by level of severity. You can be charged with assault if you’re alleged to have:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily harm to another person
  • Intentionally or knowingly threatened another person with imminent bodily harm
  • Intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with another person, if such contact would reasonably be interpreted as offensive or provocative

Note that physical contact isn’t necessary to establish an assault charge. Simply threatening harm is enough, as the act of assault hinges on intention to harm another. Our defense attorneys can argue that you didn’t mean to cause intentional harm by your actions.

What is the difference between aggravated assault and “assault”?

Aggravated assault (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.01) is a more serious assault charge, occurring when the alleged offender causes “serious bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse” or “uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault”

The difference between assault and aggravated assault is a big one – possibly the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor – and a conviction of aggravated assault can have huge collateral consequences on your life.

What are the degrees of felony assault?

The penalties for felony assault are serious, and require serious criminal defense.

  • Third-degree felony assault involves an assault on a family or household member, public servant or other protected individuals, or an assault involving choking or strangulation, or assault while intoxicated. Simple assault charges can be bumped up to felony assault if you have a previous domestic violence conviction.
  • Second-degree felony assault involves assault using just about any type of weapon such as a firearm, knife, BB gun, baseball bat or the hands may be considered a weapon if the accused is a martial artist or boxer.
  • First-degree felony assault is the most serious form of assault in Texas. It involves aggravated assault against a domestic partner, or against a public official, police officer, emergency worker, uniformed security guard, witness or informant.

What are the penalties for felony assault?

. The penalties for felony assault are serious, and require a vigorous aggressive criminal defense.

  • Third-degree felony assault can result in a prison sentence of between 2 to 10 years and fines up to $10,000.
  • Second-degree felony assault can result in a prison sentence between 2 to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • First-degree felony assault is the most serious form of assault in Texas. Penalties include prison time between five years to life in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Anyone convicted of a felony assault may also be required to pay restitution for any medical expenses or other damages.

If you’re convicted of an assault with a felony assault, you may lose the right to own, possess, purchase or transport a firearm. Further, you can never enlist in the military and you may be disqualified from obtaining many types of professional licensing and employment.

Even a seemingly minor assault charge is serious and requires serious representation. At the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of these charges and how to strategically fight them.

A few key felony assault definitions

There are specific definitions and presumptions, which an experienced Killeen felony lawyer can explain, that can determine what type of offense applies if any. Here are a few terms you should know.

Deadly conduct

The Texas Penal Code defines the third-degree felony charge of deadly conduct (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.05) in the following way:

(a)  A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

(b)  A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:

(1)  one or more individuals;  or

(2)  a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.

Technically, “road rage” may be charged as deadly conduct if you are accused of firing a gun.

Family violence

An assault charge can also rise to the level of a felony of the second degree if the assault is due to family violence. Family offense charges include:

  • An offense against someone whose relationship or association with the accused meets the definition of Family relationship as described in the Texas Family Code.
  • The accused has prior Texas criminal conviction against a family member as described in the Texas Family Code.

This category of felony assault includes:

    • Dating relationships depending on the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and other factors.
    • Families such as spouses as former spouses, parents of the same child, foster children and foster parents.
    • Households include anyone living in the same home without regard to any family relationship.

Choking or strangulation

An assault charge can also rise to the level of a felony of the third degree if the assault is due to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth.”


What strategies are used for defending felony assault charges?

If you’re arrested and charged with assault, the prosecutor has to prove a lot of facts, plus intent, in order for a jury to find you guilty. That means the prosecutor must prove you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly committed the assault. Our criminal defense team can discuss the specifics of your case with you and determine what types of defense may apply to your situation.

Common defense strategies for assault include:

  • The victim suffered no serious physical injury
  • The victim’s injuries weren’t a result of the alleged assault
  • The alleged assault was committed in self-defense
  • The actions were committed in defense of a third person
  • The victim consented to the actions through employment, treatment or other activity

Our attorneys also investigate the validity and credibility of the state’s witnesses and evidence, and whether or not you were treated with due process when you were arrested and charged.

Aggravated assault cases are taken seriously by prosecutors because of the violence caused or threatened. As a former prosecutor herself, Mary Beth Harrell knows the ins and outs of the law from both sides, and can give you an advantage right when you need it the most. She has the training, knowledge, experience, and team dedicated to building your defense.

Strong defense for assault and aggravated assault in Killeen

At the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, we have a team of hardworking professionals committed to protecting your rights. If you’ve been accused of assault, we dedicate ourselves to crafting an individualized and comprehensive defense. Let us help. Call 254-680-4655 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Killeen and Copperas Cove, and handle in-custody visits for clients who cannot come to us.