Is Assault on an Officer a Felony?

Any encounter with law enforcement officials can be scary. Everything that happens from the initial contact to an arrest can potentially result in a criminal charge and conviction. Knowing that your interaction with an officer can impact your life for years, your fight or flight response might activate as they try to handcuff you. Wanting to explain your side of the story, you might start to resist apprehension.

But know that, regardless of what you say, an officer may move forward with your arrest. If they suspect you of a crime, they must take you to the station and let a prosecutor decide whether or not to press charges. Thus, your actions may do more harm than good, and you could face felony charges regardless of whether you're eventually accused of the underlying offense.

Physical Contact with a Police Officer

As you try to justify to the officer why your arrest is unwarranted, you might push them back to prevent them from advancing on you. Or you might kick your legs to stop them from closing the door after you're in the patrol car, and in the process, you might hit the officer with your foot.

Under Texas Penal Code § 22.01, assault is causing bodily injury to another either:

  • Knowingly,
  • Intentionally, or
  • Recklessly

Therefore, if you engage in the actions described above, you can be criminally charged.

Generally, assault is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to 1 year and or a fine of up to $4,000. However, if the person you assaulted was a police officer, the offense is considered more serious. In this instance, it can be either a third- or second-degree felony.

If you're convicted of assaulting a police officer, the penalties you can face are much harsher than those had the victim not been a public servant.

In Texas, a third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A second-degree felony carries the same fine amount, but the maximum term of imprisonment increases to 20 years.

But suppose your actions result in serious bodily injury to the officer. Now, your offense is considered aggravated assault, and because it was committed on a public servant, the charge increases to a first-degree felony. If a judge or jury finds you guilty, the court may imprison you for up to 99 years and/or fine you up to $10,000.

Resisting Arrest

Because you used force to obstruct an officer from performing their official duties, you might also face charges for resisting arrest. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor, penalized by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If you've been charged with assault – on a police officer or otherwise – our team at LaHood Norton Law Group provides the legal defense you need. We have over 70+ years of combined experience and serve San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Contact us at (210) 801-9400 today.