By: Mark Diaz
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Assault With A Deadly Weapon Sentence In Texas
If you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Galveston County, you face years in prison, thousands in fines, and a permanent criminal record that could hold you back forever. However, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime and did so with intent and understanding of what you were doing. Now is the time to contact our Galveston County assault defense lawyer at Mark Diaz & Associates to build the best defense against this serious charge.
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What Is Assault In Texas?
There are three types of assault in Texas. The first is simple assault. It means that you knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly caused contact with an individual that the individual found offensive. It also is simple assault if you just threatened to do so. There does not need to be physical contact for you to be convicted of this charge.
Many kinds of physical contact can be simple assault, even without violence. For instance, threatening to hurt someone is enough to get charged with simple assault. Likewise, a simple shove with no other physical abuse could lead to a simple assault charge.
Simple assault is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine up to $500 only.
The next type of assault is assault causing bodily injury. Bodily injury is unusually defined in the code as physical contact that caused pain, whether an injury occurred or not. This is a Class A misdemeanor that can be punished by a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
The other type of assault in Texas is aggravated assault. This means you have caused serious bodily injury, OR, you used or brandished a deadly weapon during the incident. Serious bodily injury also means the injury caused by permanent disfigurement, capable of causing death, or damage or impairment of a bodily organ. The intent is a critical part of proving this charge in court.
Texas Assault With A Deadly Weapon Laws
Texas law states that assault with a deadly weapon may be a first-degree felony if the following conditions apply:
- You caused ‘serious bodily injury’ to the body of your spouse, former spouse, domestic partner, or another member of the family.
- You caused serious bodily injury to a Texas public servant working in their official capacity.
- Additionally, you recklessly discharged a firearm from a car toward someone’s home, business, or another vehicle. This conduct led to serious harm or injury.
Even if you only are charged with a second-degree felony, you could receive up to 20 years in state prison. Plus, the fine can reach $10,000. It is also what was known as a 3g offense which impacts parole eligibility.
Also, assault with a deadly weapon is a first-degree felony if you were in a car and fired a gun at or in the direction of another vehicle, building, or habitation and there was a serious bodily injury.
What Is A Deadly Weapon In Texas?
The Texas Penal Code states that a deadly weapon is a gun or anything that is designed or made to cause serious injury or death. Some of these include:
- Gun: Any firearm created or designed to fire a projectile by using force created with a burning substance or explosion.
- Silencer: A device made or designed to reduce the noise that is released from a gun.
- Explosive device: Includes a bomb, grenade, landmine, or rocket that was made to cause serious bodily harm or death.
- Handgun: A firearm created or designed to be used with one hand.
- Fake bomb: A device that looks like an explosive device intended to cause a public emergency.
- Brass knuckles: A device made with finger guards, rings, or various hard substances intended to cause severe injury or death.
- Knife: A hand instrument with a blade that can cause serious bodily arm or death with a cutting or stabbing motion.
- Device for tire deflation: A device that causes a motor vehicle to have a deflated tire by driving over it, such as spike strips.
What Are The Penalties For Assault With A Deadly Weapon?
If convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, you can get five to 99 years in prison. So, you and your criminal defense attorney must take this charge seriously. You must retain an attorney before answering questions from law enforcement. Intent matters. The charge requires that you caused the injuries on purpose and with the intent to cause severe injury or death.
Common Defenses For Assault With A Deadly Weapon
What can our Galveston County assault defense lawyer do for your case? First, he will review all case details and the facts. Then, there could be circumstances that law enforcement still needs to discover. Or, there may be witnesses that can aid your defense. Finally, your lawyer may use one or more of these defenses in your case:
- You acted in self-defense: You can use deadly force in Texas if you were defending yourself from serious injury or death.
- Lack of intent: Your attorney might have the charges reduced or dropped if you can prove that you did not intend harm.
- There was no deadly weapon: If you can prove there was no fatal weapon, the charges may not be as severe.
- Mistaken identity: If you were misidentified as the perpetrator, it is possible to have the case dismissed.
You were unaware the person was a public worker or civil servants: If the prosecutor cannot prove that you committed the crime knowing the person was a public servant, the charges could be reduced. Section 22.02 states that the law presumes you knew the person was an officer or public servant if they were wearing a badge or uniform.
No evidence: The Galveston County prosecutor must prove you were responsible for the assault. If they do not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt, they may be unable to prove the charges.
You had consent: Consent is a defense under the law when there is assault. However, if you can show your conduct did not cause serious bodily harm or threaten serious bodily harm, or the victim knew the risk, the case could be dismissed.
Your attorney may also work with the prosecutor to negotiate a lesser charge or even dismiss the case. Also, sometimes in a domestic dispute, the victim may decide not to press the case. The alleged victim may tell the prosecutor that they want the case dropped. The prosecutor, however, can still prosecute the assault case if they decide to do so.
The alleged victim lacks the legal authority to drop such a severe charge. Only the county or state prosecutor can drop the case. Sometimes, the state will proceed with an assault case even if the alleged victim wants it stopped.
Consequences For Assault With A Deadly Weapon Conviction
The laws of Texas offer alternatives to prison or jail sentences for someone who has been convicted of assault. If you plead guilty or are convicted, you could have probation instead of jail. This could be for up to 10 years. Or, the court can order you to spend time in prison before starting probation. The minimum would be 180 days for a felony.
You have to complete your probation and other conditions the court imposes. Or, the court can send you back to jail. If you get community supervision, you must meet regularly with a probation officer. You also are required to pay probation fees and obey all probation conditions. Some of these may include keeping a job, getting anger management or alcohol treatment, obeying a curfew, and submitting to periodic drug tests.
Furthermore, being convicted for this charge means being saddled with a permanent criminal record. A felony conviction can make it much more difficult to stay employed, get a job, vote, rent an apartment, etc.
How To Reduce Assault With A Deadly Weapon Charge To A Misdemeanor
If the prosecutor’s evidence does not prove assault with a deadly weapon, sometimes the case can be reduced to a less severe charge, such as disorderly conduct. However, this depends on the case circumstances and the skill of your attorney.
The Importance Of Mental State In An Assault Charge
Proving assault with a deadly weapon or aggravated assault means the prosecutor proved you acted knowingly and intentionally. It also may even mean you acted recklessly.
To prove that you acted recklessly, they must show that you were aware of but disregarded the risk to the other person. The risk needs to have been of a degree and nature that disregarding it would be a deviation from an ordinary person’s standard of care.
Speak To Our Galveston County Assault Defense Lawyer Now
An assault with a deadly weapon charge is serious. If you face an assault with a deadly weapon charge in Galveston County, you need experienced legal representation now. Your attorney will review the case and determine the best defense. The most common defense in Texas assault cases is self-defense. Another potentially effective defense is you were defending another person from harm or death. Please contact our Galveston County assault defense lawyer at Mark Diaz & Associates for legal assistance at (409) 515-6170.