What if one bad decision ruined your entire life?
For those who have been charged with assault, this may be the case. No one wants to spend time in prison if they can avoid it!
Fortunately, there are some plea options that may help you out. And with your lawyers help, plea options like the ones below are how to beat a simple assault charge.
What Is a Plea Agreement?
We’ve put together a solid guide to the kind of plea agreement that can help with simple assault charges. First, though, we must define what plea agreements are.
In a plea agreement (also known as a plea bargain), you are confessing guilt to a particular crime. And such pleas are highly encouraged by the court.
The reason they encourage pleas is simple. It saves them the time and costs associated with a lengthy trial.
However, plea agreements don’t just benefit the court and the state. They also offer a number of benefits for someone who stands accused of crimes like simple assault.
Benefits of Plea Agreements
The exact benefits of taking a plea agreement vary from case to case. However, in almost all cases, accepting a plea bargain is superior to the risk of going to jail.
For example, you may receive a reduced sentence. And depending on your record, you may avoid jail time altogether (see our notes on this below).
In other cases, a plea may involve dropping some related charges. By pleading guilty to one crime, you can actually avoid the additional prison time of other crimes.
Depending on the plea agreement offered, you may decide you are better off going to trial. And you should be aware that there are major potential downsides to plea agreements.
Drawbacks of Plea Agreements
The biggest drawback of taking a plea agreement is very simple. By accepting the agreement, you are admitting to being guilty of a crime.
In the short term, a plea is a great way to shave years off of your potential time in prison. But you may potentially now have a criminal record that will follow you throughout the rest of your life.
Only you can decide whether accepting guilt is better than having your day in court. As always, we recommend consulting with a good attorney before making any major decisions about your case.
After all, those attorneys are great at keeping your record clean.
What Is “Simple Assault?”
You may have noticed our guide is very specific and focuses on beating simple assault charges. It’s important that you understand what “simple assault” does (and does not) mean.
As the name implies, this is a lesser form of assault. And there are really only two scenarios in which you can be charged with this misdemeanor crime.
First, simple assault may consist of failed battery. This means that you tried to physically harm someone but failed in your attempt to do so.
Second, simple assault may consist of a threatening act. This means that, via words or actions, you made someone think you are about to commit an act of battery on their body.
Such forms of assault are typically considered Class C misdemeanors in Texas. However, if you somehow managed to negligently hurt someone during this act, it is considered a more serious Class A misdemeanor.
While “simple” assault charges mean you didn’t actually hurt someone, there can still be some stiff sentencing from the state. It’s important to know the kind of plea deals that you may be offered.
Plea With No Jail Time
The best kinds of plea agreements are those involving no jail time. This is also known as a deferred sentence, and unless you act up while on probation, you don’t end up in prison.
In some cases, this means you end up with no conviction on your record. However, there are some pleas where you “serve” probation instead of time in prison but still have a conviction on your record.
A plea with no jail time usually means you had little or no previous criminal history. It may also mean there were mitigating circumstances behind your simple assault (such as being attacked by the other person).
Plea With Some Jailtime
Another common plea is one involving jail time. As we mentioned above, such pleas may be preferable to risking the maximum possible sentencing if you should go to trial and lose.
If you have a prior criminal history, you are unlikely to get offered a plea with no jail time. This is similarly unlikely if you have been simultaneously charged with more serious crimes.
Finally, a plea involving jail is more likely in cases involving domestic violence. This is particularly true of Texas, which has a number of strict laws surrounding any kind of domestic or family violence.
Plea to Other Charges
Previously, we mentioned the possibility of being charged with other crimes. If you are facing simple assault charges on top of other crimes, you may be able to plea to other charges.
This boils down to you admitting your guilt regarding one (or more) crimes. In return, the state drops some of the other charges against you.
This can be a particularly good option if it means avoiding any potential felony charges. In that case, agreeing to a misdemeanor like simple assault is actually the better option.
Entering Special Programs
There is a final plea option that involves avoiding prison. However, this option has strings attached, and those strings are ultimately decided by a judge.
For example, it’s common that someone was under the influence of alcohol or drugs during their alleged assault. That person may be offered a plea deal involving that they stay off of drugs or enter into a program like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Such pleas typically mean providing proof of your good behavior to the court or to a probation officer. And if you fail to complete any assigned programs, you are automatically judged as guilty of the original crime and sentenced appropriately.
How to Beat a Simple Assault Charge: The Bottom Line
Now you know how to beat a simple assault charge. But do you know who will have your back the whole time?
Here at Madrid Law, we specialize in helping you beat the charges and get your life back. To start fighting back today, all you have to do is contact us.