If you find yourself facing an aggravated assault charge in Texas, you should take it seriously. Aggravated assault is a felony in Texas. Even if you’re charged with a second-degree felony, you could face serious penalties. Knowing exactly what is considered aggravated assault and how it is punished may help you stay out of trouble. If you’ve already been charged, you’ll need representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Aggravated Assault Explained by a Criminal Attorney in Houston
Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 22, aggravated assault refers to:
- Knowingly, recklessly or intentionally causing serious bodily injury to an individual or;
- Displaying or using a deadly weapon while committing any type of assault. This includes threatening someone with bodily injury and engaging in conduct offensive to the victim.
Serious bodily injury includes broken bones, loss of hearing, and permanent scarring, disfigurement, and impairment. A deadly weapon is any object which can cause harm. This means you don’t have to be armed with an obvious weapon like a gun or a knife. A stick or any other object can be considered deadly depending on the circumstances.
An Houston Criminal Attorney on When Aggravated Assault is a First-Degree Felony
Aggravated assault is usually a second-degree felony. However, there are several circumstances in which you can be charged in the first degree. These include if you:
- Used a deadly weapon and caused serious bodily injury to a relative, household member or current or former intimate partner. This makes the offense domestic violence.
- Were a public servant acting in your official capacity
- Committed the offense against a public servant you knew was performing their duties
- Committed the offense against a public servant in retaliation for performing their duties.
- Were retaliating against an informant, witness, or someone who committed a crime.
- Committed the act against a security officer you knew was performing their duties.
- Discharged a firearm from a vehicle at another vehicle or a building and caused serious bodily injury.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Texas and How You Can Avoid Them
Getting convicted for aggravated assault can land you in prison. A first-degree felony can result in a prison sentence of between five and 99 years as well as a $10, 000 fine. Meanwhile, a second-degree felony is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a similar fine. You may also have to pay restitution to the victims. This could include the cost of counselling, medical treatment, and the repair of damaged property.
It is also important to remember that an aggravated assault conviction will stay on your record. If a court convicts you of another crime later, your prior conviction could cause you to get a harsher sentence. Conviction for a violent crime can also make it difficult to get a job or find a home to rent. You lose the right to vote or carry a firearm and you may be stripped of your professional license. Since you may have to pay significantly for your crime, it is crucial that you mount a strong defense.
When you have a strong attorney on your side, you have a better change of maintaining your freedom. Your lawyer may be able to get the charges dismissed if the evidence against you is weak or there were procedural errors. Alternatively, if the case goes to trial, they may successfully convince a jury of your innocence.
If you get convicted, your attorney can still get your prison time reduced or eliminated by negotiating a plea deal. Another option in Texas is to have your case dealt with through deferred adjudication. If you follow a prescribed program, you would escape conviction. You may even get your record sealed. Alternatively, the judge may sentence you to regular probation rather than prison time.
Contact Eddington & Worley Today to Discuss Your Case
If you want to fight aggravated assault charges, you need a skilled, experienced criminal lawyer in Houston, Texas on your side. You need to have someone representing you who has dealt with similar cases before. Only a legal professional can examine all the facts surrounding your case and determine if there are grounds for dismissal. They will also know if it makes sense to try for a plea deal in your case. At Eddington & Worley, we will offer you expert advice. We’ll also help you to make decisions which are in your best interest. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you fight for your freedom.