Assault can be defined as an overt or unlawful threat of violence. Aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon is a much more serious charge of assault because it elevates intent through the use of a weapon during the assault. When a weapon of some kind is used in any crime, you can always expect more serious charges. In fact, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a second-degree felony.
Penalties for this crime if convicted could include large fines and incarceration for up to 20 years. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, know that this is a very serious charge and it would benefit you greatly to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible who can review your case and help you determine your defense. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty and, depending on the details of your case and the evidence against you, it is very possible to win these types of cases.
Understanding Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges
There are two types of assault in Texas: Assault and aggravated assault. Assault can be threatened or caused and does not involve the use or exhibition of a weapon. The crime of aggravated assault does not involve threats and is only caused, and may or may not involve the use or display of a deadly weapon.
Therefore, if you reportedly used and/or exhibited a deadly weapon while committing assault, you could get an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge. This can apply whether or not you hurt the alleged victim. If a deadly weapon were not used or exhibited but you caused serious bodily injury to the victim during the offense, you would only get an aggravated assault charge.
What Is Aggravated Assault in TX?
To best understand how Texas defines aggravated assault, let’s examine the definition of assault. A person commits assault if they:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse
- intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse
- intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
Aggravating factors in any crime essentially increase the severity of the offense. Thus, aggravated assault occurs when a person commits assault and does the following:
- cause serious bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse
- use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
If convicted of aggravated assault in Texas, a person could suffer a second-degree felony charge punishable by two to 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. However, the charge could be enhanced to a first-degree felony if the following circumstances applied during the offense:
- the defendant used a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and caused serious bodily injury to a family or household member
- the offense was committed:
- by a public servant acting under color of the servant's office or employment
- against a public servant while they were lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant
- in retaliation against or on account of the service of a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who reported the crime
- against a security officer while they performed their duties as a security officer
- the defendant was in a motor vehicle and:
- knowingly discharged a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle
- was reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle was occupied
- in discharging the firearm, caused serious bodily injury to any person
Seeking Qualified Legal Defense
The charge of aggravated assault relies heavily on the term deadly weapon. Most people might believe that items like a gun or a knife are examples of deadly weapons. A skilled prosecutor, however, can argue that, in the right circumstances, many items that are not generally thought of as weapons, let alone deadly weapons, can become deadly weapons during an assault. Arguments have been successfully made for baseball bats, automobiles, sticks, and other items to be considered as deadly weapons in these types of cases.
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