What Constitutes Assault on a Public Servant?
Under Texas Penal Code Section 22.01(a)-(b), assault on a public servant occurs when someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation to the exercise of official power of a public servant.
In other words, assault on a public official or servant is an assault charge with two additional elements: knowing the person is a public servant and while the public servant was lawfully discharging an official duty.
What is the Punishment for Assaulting a Public Servant?
Assault on a Public Servant is a third degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 can also be imposed. The statute of limitations for this charge is three years in Texas.
Presumption of Knowledge
Penal Code Section 22.01(d) creates a presumption that the actor knew the person assaulted was a public servant if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person’s employment as a public servant or status as a security officer or emergency services personnel.
Who is a Public Servant?
A public servant is a person who is employed, appointed, or elected as a:
- A police officer;
- An employee of the government;
- An agent of the government;
- A juror or grand juror;
- An attorney performing a government function;
- A candidate for public office; etc.
- Hospital personnel (TX SB840, effective Sept. 1, 2023)
What is Aggravated Assault against a Public Servant?
If the assault against a public servant or government official causes serious bodily injury or involved the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon, the offense becomes Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant. This charge is a first degree felony in Texas, punishable by up to life in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Assaulting a Public Servant?
The statute of limitations for assaulting a public servant is three years in Texas.
What is Harassment of a Public Servant?
Harassment of a public servant occurs when a person, with the intent to assault, harass, or alarm the public servant, causes the public servant to be contacted by blood, semen, vaginal fluid, urine or feces knowing the person is a public servant and while the public servant was lawfully discharging an official duty.
Harassment of a Public Servant is a third degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 can also be imposed. The statute of limitations for harassment of a public official is three years in Texas.
We Defend Allegations of Assault in Fort Worth
Any allegation of assaulting a public servant is going to be taken seriously. Other officers, the filing detective, and the prosecutor is likely to assume the worst. Our attorneys will carefully analyze the state’s evidence to see if the elements of the offense can actually be met. We’ve had case dismissed after finding favorable video or audio proof that our client was not guilty of the offense charged. Similarly, finding witnesses and securing statements can be vital in your defense.
Ultimately, both assault and aggravated assault against a public servant are serious felony offenses that must be presented to the grand jury for indictment. In most cases, that is the first real opportunity to terminate the prosecution. There are two important things to remember: First and foremost, do not give any statements to the police. Second, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to proactively begin defending the case against you. We can help. Call 817-203-2220 to speak with a member of our team.