Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code establishes the guidelines for what constitutes an assault offense. A person commits assault if he or she:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse.
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse.
- Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
In many states, there is a distinction between assault and battery. In these instances, “assault” refers to the intent or threat to do physical harm while “battery” refers to actual physical contact. In the state of Texas, assault and battery are combined into a single charge.
This means that you can be charged with assault if you only threaten to harm someone, so long as the person has a reasonable degree of fear that you intend to actually do it.
To be charged with assault in the state of Texas, a law enforcement officer has to either witness the action or seek a formal arrest warrant from a judge. The exception to this rule is claims of assault where the victim or other party is a family member.