Battery is a Texas legal term that is most frequently encountered in criminal assault cases. In fact, the link between these two criminal actions is so strong that many people can recognized the phrase “assault and battery.” Even though these two terms appear together frequently, they are different and have distinct definitions.
What Is Battery?
Battery refers to the act of physically striking, hitting or attacking someone resulting in physical injury. By contrast, assault can refer to the act of threatening to attack someone, even if physical contact never takes places.
For example, if John tells Dave that he is going to punch him in the face, John may be charged with assault for making the threat. However, if John carries through and actually strikes Dave in the face, resulting in a black eye, John may be charged with assault and battery.
Texas Punishment for Harming Others
In Houston, physical contact resulting in bodily injury can cause a wide range of legal penalties to be applied. Usually, the severity of the penalties is intended to be a reflection of the perceived severity of the physical contact itself. Physical harm that results in serious bodily harm will be punished more harshly than harm that did not result in any signs of physical injury. According to the Texas Penal Code, battery can include the following punishments:
- Simple assault and battery is a Class A Misdemeanor
- Simple assault and battery against a public servant is a third degree felony
- Aggravated assault and battery is a second degree felony
Possible Defenses for Beating People Up
It may be difficult to defend against threatening charges in a Houston court. If other people witnessed the event, it may be possible to criticize their reliability as eyewitnesses. It may be a better strategy to try to negotiate for a better sentencing deal. This could include agreeing to enroll in anger management classes or attend counseling sessions.
It may also be helpful to issue a public apology to the victim. While this may not solve the situation, it may help sway the judge’s opinion when it comes time to hand down a sentence.