Can You Get Arrested For Assault Without Touching Someone? Indecent Assault Explained

In Texas, you can be arrested and charged for assault without actually touching someone (the state is not unique in that regard). The penalty falls under "indecent assault" and we'll explain what that means and how much trouble you might be in if you are charged with it in Texas.

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The official state code for Indecent Assault can be found in Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, particularly section 22.012 (clicking that link will take you directly to the section in question). For the entire chapter on assaultive cases in Texas, visit the first section of that chapter here or read our full post on Texas laws on assaultive cases.

While we try to make sure that this page and all pages on this site are up to date with current laws, please double-check the official state code if you are unsure (this was last updated May 13, 2022).

What is Indecent Assault?

Indecent is one form of assault defined, which deals with both the touching of another (instead of ‘hitting’ or ‘striking’ in a sensitive (our word not Texas’) area or if one merely exposes oneself to another.

First we’ll deal with the former which describes special areas, where areas are on someone else’s physical body which the mere intentional, unintentional touching of by another would constitute assault.

Those areas on someone else that you may not intentionally touch without their permission are the:

  1. anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;
  2. (any part of) their genitals of any person;

If you do, you have committed a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A Misdemeanor is the most severe type of misdemeanor and the most severe penalty one can receive for committing a felony. This penalty comes with a fine of up to $4,000 and a potential jail sentence of up to one year (or both). Furthermore, the state mandates a minimum 90-day sentence for someone who is convicted of a Class A misdemeanor.

One more piece of bad news, if you committed an Indecent Assault in conjunction with another crime you can be charged with both.

Having said that, there are plenty of opportunities for your attorney or the state to hand down a more lenient sentence depending on the circumstances of your case.

Being Charged For Assault Despite Not Touching Someone

As we discussed above, you can be charged in the state of Texas for assault despite not ‘striking’ someone but merely touching someone in the aforementioned sensitive areas. However, one can also be charged for assault without actually touching someone. This can happen if one of two things happens: if one exposes oneself or if you “cause another person to come into contact” with certain substances.

The former constitutes assault if one exposes certain parts of themselves. Those special parts of oneself that may not be exposed to another are ones: genitals, buttocks, breasts, pubic area, anus or female areola.

The latter, when one forces another to come into contact with certain substances, is also is an assault if one comes into contact with one’s blood, semen, saliva, urine, feces, or vaginal fluid, without the permission of the other person. Obviously, if this happens by accident (which may or may not be difficult to prove) then this would not constitute an assault in the eyes of Texas law.

This violation incurs the same penalties as other forms of Indecent Assault (see above) which is a Class A Misdemeanor. Once again, this comes with a fine of up to $4,000 and a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail (maximum sentence of up to one year in prison), or both.