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Are assault and battery different charges in Texas?

In most states, assault and battery are two different charges. They often get handed out together since they're so similar, but they are not the same.

The distinction is in physical contact. Just making a threat to harm someone, if he or she has reason to believe the threat is real, can get you charged with assault. You do not have to carry out any physical actions after the threat. If you do, though, and the person suffers a physical injury, that's when you battery charges would apply.

The interesting thing about Texas law, especially for those who have moved here from other states, is that it does not draw a line between the two. All incidents in Texas are referred to as assaults. You can face assault charges just for making a threat, but you can also get assault charges for "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" harming another person physically.

Even though the charges are the same, the degrees still vary, and the sentences you may get vary along with them. For instance, if you simply threaten someone and never carry out any physical violence, you may just get a fine after your arrest. If you do harm that person physically, you could wind up in jail for 12 months.

In that sense, Texas does use the same laws that other states have in place. The difference is that courts refer to all charges as assault charges, rather than calling them assault and battery charges separately. No matter what type of charges you are facing, it is very important to know all of your legal rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Texas Assault and Battery Laws," accessed May 10, 2018

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