Assault charges are grave, particularly aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This post will guide you through Texas law, especially if you are a first-time offender, explaining sentences, and how assault with a deadly weapon charges can be dropped.
Today’s blog post answers these questions and more as we discuss these charges in detail, including what is aggravated assault in Texas, what constitutes a deadly weapon, what penalties can accompany this charge, and if it’s possible to have charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas dismissed.
What is Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon Under Texas Law?
Here we explore what aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas means, including the legal definition of assault and the different felony charges that could apply if a deadly weapon is involved.
The law defines assault as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another.” Although not implicitly stated in this definition, assault can also include verbally or physically threatening someone with bodily harm. Furthermore, Texas law defines aggravated assault as when a person commits an assault that causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse, or they use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
Therefore, one can face second-degree felony charges for assault even if you don’t actually use the deadly weapon during the incident. These criminal charges could also be elevated to a first-degree felony in some circumstances, such as using a deadly weapon and causing serious bodily injury to a spouse or family member, aggravated assault against a law officer or public servant while acting in their official capacity, or a firearm recklessly discharging from a motor vehicle towards a home, business, or another vehicle, causing serious harm or injury to another.
Elements of an Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon
The laws around aggravated assault with a deadly weapon are complicated, so in order to explain what circumstances can lead to an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon Texas charge, let’s break down the elements involved.
- Aggravated Assault:
This is an act that either causes serious bodily harm or involves a deadly weapon in a simple assault. So, anyone who uses or displays a deadly weapon during an assault can be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas.
- Serious Bodily Injury:
Aggravated assault with serious bodily injury in Texas involves creating a substantial risk of death (or death itself), serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. As such, broken bones or permanent scarring would be considered a serious bodily injury. So, in a court of law, if a victim expresses that they were hurt or felt pain during the assault event, an element of bodily injury has been established.
- Deadly Weapon:
A deadly weapon can be any object capable of causing death or serious bodily injury and used in such a manner. Some examples of deadly weapons under Texas law include (but are not limited to) firearms (ex: machine guns, zip guns, handguns, short-barrel firearms, firearm silencers), knives (hunting knives, switchblades, swords, daggers, bowie knives), rope, brass knuckles, baseball bats, clubs, or explosive weapons.
Whether the aggravated assault charge is considered a second-degree or first-degree felony, it’s a felony regardless. Felony charges can result in serious penalties in Texas, which the next section details.
Sentence For Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon in Texas
One can expect serious and life-altering consequences when convicted of a felony charge in Texas, no matter the degree of the charges. In the case of today’s discussion, an “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon” Texas charge is a second-degree felony and punishable by 2-20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections (i.e., prison) and monetary fines of up to $10,000.
However, if the charges are elevated to a first-degree felony, the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon sentence is more severe. To recap, a first-degree felony charge can apply if any of these circumstances occur: a deadly weapon is used when committing domestic assault and causes serious bodily injury to the victim; the aggravated assault is committed by or against a public servant (such as a city council member or law officer) while acting in their official capacity; the aggravated assault is committed in retaliation against a witness, informant, or a person who reported a crime; a firearm is discharged from a motor vehicle at a house, building, or vehicle while occupied with reckless disregard and causes serious bodily injury to the victim.
If any of these circumstances apply, the charge becomes a first-degree felony. In these cases, the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon Texas sentence can carry 5-99 years (or life) in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon First Offense
There are sentencing alternatives to prison time available, especially If the accused has never before been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas – or any other criminal offense. In these cases, as long as no mandatory sentences are required by law, judges have the discretion to use alternatives.
If sentencing alternatives are possible, they can include fines, restitution, community service, probation, house arrest, inpatient drug/alcohol rehabilitation, inpatient psychiatric treatment, or work release. However, eligibility does not mean these alternatives will occur, especially if an experienced criminal defense attorney isn’t fighting on your behalf. Therefore, a first time offender of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas should immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer before speaking to anyone else.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon: Understanding the Legal Terms
Legal terminologies can be confusing, and when it comes to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, understanding the distinctions is crucial.
Aggravated Assault: This is an intentional act causing serious bodily harm or involving a deadly weapon. In Texas, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a felony charge, carrying severe penalties.
Simple Assault: Unlike aggravated assault, simple assault might involve less serious harm, such as minor injuries or threatening behavior without a weapon.
Battery: This offense may include actual physical contact that results in harm. The presence of a deadly weapon can elevate the charge to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Deadly Weapon: Defined as any object capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, examples include firearms, knives, and even objects like ropes or clubs when used with harmful intent.
Understanding these terms is a foundational step in navigating Texas law concerning aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other related offenses.
Navigating Your First Offense: A Guide for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Texas
If you’re a first-time offender of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, the legal system can seem overwhelming. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your legal rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation.
Understand the Charges: Learn the specifics of the charge, whether it’s a first-degree or second-degree felony, and the potential penalties, such as jail time or fines.
Seek Legal Support: Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial. They can guide you through the process, possibly reduce the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon sentence, or even have charges dropped.
Comply with Legal Procedures: Follow all court instructions, attend hearings, and cooperate with your legal counsel.
Explore Sentencing Alternatives: For a first-time offender, there may be alternatives like probation or rehabilitation programs. Consult with your lawyer to understand your options.
Common Questions about Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Various questions arise when dealing with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, especially in Texas. Here are some answers:
Q: What defines a deadly weapon?
A: Any object capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, including firearms, knives, and other objects if used with harmful intent.
Q: What’s the difference between a first-degree and second-degree felony?
A: First-degree charges often involve more serious circumstances and carry stiffer penalties, such as longer jail time. Second-degree charges are still serious but may result in a lesser sentence.
Q: How are sentences determined?
A: Sentences are influenced by factors such as the severity of the assault, use of a deadly weapon, the relationship between the victim and the offender, and whether it’s a first offense.
Q: Can charges be dropped?
A: It may be possible to have assault with a deadly weapon charges dropped with proper legal defense, especially if there’s evidence of self-defense or insufficient proof.
Getting Your Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon Case Dismissed
When facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, it’s critical to understand that we all have rights. For example, there have been cases when assaults with a deadly weapon in Texas were committed as acts of self-defense, which can seriously affect the legal repercussions.
When a case involves an accusation of assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, there are a number of defense strategies that can affect the outcome, i.e., reducing the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon sentence or dismissing the charges. Some examples of these defense strategies include self-defense, lack of a deadly weapon, mistaken identity, lack of intent, or insufficient evidence. However, the chances of getting charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas dismissed are next to impossible without proper criminal defense representation.
Criminal defense attorneys are specifically trained to intently review all the details of the reported crime, uncover all the facts of the case, and determine the best options for you moving forward in your favor. Frequently, there may be extenuating circumstances that police overlooked or yet-to-be-identified witnesses that can help your case and the outcome.
Criminal convictions are a matter of permanent record and can interfere with trying to live a normal life while severely impacting you and your family’s well-being – mentally, emotionally, and financially.
If you or a loved one is facing charges that could result in an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon sentence, contact the criminal defense experts at GHC Law Firm immediately. Just because you are charged, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to do time or pay hefty fines. With our knowledge of the criminal justice system and decades of experience in Austin criminal defense, we can help you fight for your rights, reputation, and even your life, if required.
Contact GHC Law Firm today to fight for your future.