Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Have you been charged with aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon? If so, you need to call an experienced defense lawyer for aggravated assault charges right away. There are varying degrees of assault charges people can face in Texas, but one of the most serious is aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Deadly weapons are defines specifically by Texas Penal Code, as any weapon with the capability of causing serious harm including but not limited to handguns, knives, explosives, bombs, automobiles, and even a broken bottle or shank. If you were arrested and accused of assaulting someone with a weapon, call an aggravated assault lawyer at the Hampton Law Firm today. Call 817-435-2909 to schedule a free case evaluation with our defense attorneys who have over 20 years of experience bringing cases to trial.
How Does Texas Law Define Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
Texas Penal Code §§ 22.02 covers aggravated assault charges, defining aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as causing serious bodily harm to someone in an assault and using a deadly weapon sometime during the alleged attack.
These statutes provide Texas Courts guidance on what types of punishment may be assessed for a guilty verdict.
What Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove for an Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon Conviction?
The first thing that must be proven by the prosecution for a conviction to be possible is that you acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly in committing the alleged crime. If there is any doubt, you should not be convicted. The second thing the prosecution must prove is that a deadly weapon was in your possession during some part of the confrontation. The final factor that must be proven is that serious bodily injury occurred as a result of the alleged assault. Texas defines serious bodily injury as an act that can result in fatal injury, death, serious disfigurement, impairment, or disability. These are very serious charges, we strongly urge you to contact a felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon defense lawyer who know how to fight charges like these effectively.
What is the Punishment for an Assault with a Deadly Weapon Conviction in Texas?
In nearly all cases, aggravated assault charges are charged as either a second or first-degree felony in Texas. This means that if convicted, you could be facing jail time of upwards of 99 years. Even in cases where the charges are reduced to a second-degree felony, you could be facing jail time of up to 20 years and fines of up to $10,000 if you receive a guilty verdict.
In some cases, you could be told the charges have been elevated to “3G offenses”. These are extremely serious because of the nature of these crimes, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure in section 42.12. Subsection 3G puts limitations on what the courts may impose for minimum sentences. The courts are required to force a party found guilty to serve at least one-half of their sentence or 30 years, whichever is less. In rare circumstances, the jury may come back with a recommendation of 10 years or less which could result in a deferred adjudication; however, defendants should be aware this outcome is extremely rare. A knowledgeable defense team will know how to initiate the process to lower your charges like this if it is possible.
Possible Defenses for Aggravated Assault & Assault with a Deadly Weapon
The laws governing the punishment for and classifying the degree of crime for assault charges in Texas are very complex. However, the high degree of complexity in the penal code also means there are plenty of opportunities to poke holes in a prosecution’s case, thereby strengthening your case.
Some of the possible defenses against aggravated assault with a deadly weapon include:
- Force or weapon not deadly – your first defense is that you didn’t use sufficient force or a weapon capable of causing great bodily injury. For example, if you struck someone with a plastic baseball bat you could say that the weapon was not capable of causing serious harm.
- Self or other’s defense – if you were acting in self-defense or defending another party, this is another possible way to have the charges reduced or dropped. You have the right to defend yourself, your property and person’s in your home or your company. There must be proof that someone was in jeopardy of injury when you acted.
- Lack of intent – in nearly all cases, prosecutors must prove you acted in a deliberate manner and with intent. If your actions were misinterpreted, you were coerced or fearful for your safety, you may have acted in a manner that was instinctive instead of deliberate.
Building A Strong Defense
Your defense attorney will want to hear your account of the incident, and anything that happened leading to the moment you were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Your lawyer needs to hear every detail so that they do not miss an important bit of information that could lead to proving you innocent.
For example, it’s hard to defend against road rage charges; your car would be considered a deadly weapon. However, if the driver of another vehicle was trying to force you off the road, then it’s possible they should be the ones facing charges and you’d be considered a victim. This is why it’s so important for you to seek immediate advice from an attorney after your arrest. The less you say to law enforcement after your arrest, the better off you may be in the long run.
Keep in mind aggravated assault charges are often put before a grand jury to seek an indictment. In some cases the grand jury may not even seek to indict you if there is insufficient or illegally obtained evidence. Just because you’ve been arrested and are facing these charges does not automatically make you guilty.
Long-Term Consequences of a Violent Felony Conviction
It’s important to remember, if you’re found guilty of any felony charges in Texas, your problems after conviction don’t end when you get out of jail. In nearly all cases, you’re going to be facing life-long repercussions including an inability to secure student loans, a temporary loss of your rights to carry a firearm and problems finding employment. However, when you are convicted of a violent crime you could also be restricted from visiting your children or seeking child custody. Don’t take these kinds of risks with your freedom or your future.
Contact a Defense Lawyer for Aggravated Assault Charges
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, if you’re facing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges, you need an attorney who understands how to beat the prosecution. Experienced aggravated assault attorney Jeff Hampton is ready to hear your case and start building your defense. Call the Hampton Law Firm now at 817-877-5200 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with Jeff Hampton, an experienced criminal defense lawyer.