Assault with Serious Bodily Injury Charges
Have you been charged with assault with serious bodily injury? Assault causing serious bodily injury is typically classified as a first-degree felony in Texas, with some of the most severe punishments if you are convicted. There are some circumstances in which someone can be wrongfully accused of assault with bodily injury. For example, someone could be in a pub when a fight breaks out, and striking an attacker in self-defense or to defend someone else. Someone could feel threatened if a suspicious person is on their property and act to defend their family from intruders.
Most cases of assault are considered simple assault if the alleged victim sustains minor to moderate injuries. However, if you are accused of breaking someone’ nose, leaving permanent scarring on the face of your victim or the victim falls and strikes their head on a cement floor causing death, the charges will most likely be filed as assault with serious bodily injury under Texas Law.
Assault charges with serious bodily injury do not imply that you had a weapon. If the defendant is also accused of using a “deadly weapon” as classified by Texas Penal Code, the charges will be filed as aggravated assault with serious bodily injury. Examples of a deadly weapon in Texas include a broken beer bottle, a closed fist with brass knuckles, a firearm or gun, explosives, and some knives. Generally, if one of these types of weapons was involved but the person is charged with simple assault with bodily injury instead of aggravated, it could mean the prosecutor did not feel they had had enough evidence to file the greater charge.
How Do I Know What Specific Type of Assault with Injury Charge I Am Facing?
Look up your case on the Tarrant County docket search page. Under the offense column you will see the abbreviation of the charges listed out. You might see some of the following types of assault with injury charges:
- AGG ASSAULT CAUSES SBI: Means aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury
- AGG ASSAULT CAUSES SERIOUS BODILY I: Means aggravated assault with serious bodily injury
- ASSAULT CAUSES SERIOUS BODILY INJURY: Abbreviation of assault causing serious bodily injury
- ASSAULT CAUSES SERIOUS INJURY: Means assault with serious bodily injury
- ASSAULT CAUSES BODILY INJ: Abbreviation for assault with bodily injury
How Does Texas Law Defines Serious Bodily Injury?
Under Texas laws, simple bodily injury is defined as an injury caused by a slap, punch or even when someone’s hair is pulled. However, serious bodily injury means the injury increases the risk of death, causes death, results in permanent disfigurement or causes the loss of impairment of any bodily function.
Permanent disfigurement may be caused by mutilation resulting in permanent, visible scars, the loss of a limb or digit. Injuries resulting in permanent disabilities such as brain injuries, cognitive impairment, inability to walk, loss of eyesight, and loss of hearing also qualify as serious bodily injuries according to Texas Penal Code.
Enhanced or Reduced Charges Possible with Assault Injury
When you’re facing charges like assault with serious bodily injury, it may be possible for your lawyer to have the charges changed to simple assault. While this would be a favorable turn of events, it is important to realize that the tables could turn the other way as well. In some cases a skilled defense lawyer for assault with serious injury charges could even have the case dismissed or charges dropped.
An experienced defense team is essential if facing these charges because if the alleged victim dies while you are pending trial as a defendant, the prosecutor could enhance the crime and file capital murder charges. A conviction for capital murder has even worse punishment than assault with bodily injury, and could possibly result in life in prison or the death penalty as allowed by Texas criminal code.
Possible Defenses for Assault with Serious Injury Charges
Just because you are charged with assault causing bodily injury does not mean you are guilty, or that you deserve the harsh punishments imposed on people convicted of these charges in Texas. Extenuating circumstances surrounding the alleged assault can pave the way for a multitude of possible defenses. Some examples of these circumstances include:
- Self-defense – the Texas Penal Code § 9.31 Self-Defense, specifically allows for self-defense. If you are concerned about the possibility of bodily harm to yourself, a family member or others in your company at the time of the assault, you have the right to defend yourself.
- Intoxication – those who deliberately drink and get into an altercation that results in serious bodily injury cannot use intoxication as a defense. However, if you were having a beer in a local pub and someone spiked your drink with a drug causing you to lose control, this can be used as a valid defense. Texas Penal Code § 8.04 Intoxication states that temporary mental insanity caused by alcohol intake (even voluntary) may be used as a defense for certain criminal charges.
- Duress or coercion – according to Texas Penal Code § 8.05 Duress, if you were being threatened by a third-party and were forced to act in a manner that would be otherwise unusual for you; or you were threatened with injury or harm if you failed to carry out an assault, this may also be a valid defense.
Your assault with serious bodily injury lawyer will need to know your state of mind, what led up to the assault and whether or not you have any prior record of assault. These are important factors that will help an attorney determine how to best build a defense on your behalf.
What are the Penalties for Assault with Serious Bodily Injury in Texas?
Under Texas laws, assault with serious bodily injury is usually considered a felony in the first degree. Under some circumstances, may be reduced to a second-degree felony. However, the possible punishments for either a 2nd or 3rd degree felony conviction are both devastating and include: lifetime jail sentences, paying restitution to the victim, paying hefty fines to the government, long-term probation and supervision and more. Your lawyer must take the time to hear your side of what occurred during the incident and dive deeply into the facts and evidence gathered in the case to defend you effectively.
1st Degree Felony Conviction for Assault with Serious Injury – A guilty verdict for a first degree felony in Texas is at least five years in prison, and your sentence could be as long as 99 years. This is in addition to fines of up to $10,000 and possibly the requirement of paying restitution to the victim.
2nd Degree Felony Assault with Serious Injury – A second-degree felony conviction could mean a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum sentence of 20 years with the same fines and restitution.
A felony conviction will impact you for a lifetime impacting your ability temporarily to own a firearm and vote. However, you may also face a lifetime of challenges finding employment and housing. In addition, you become ineligible for certain programs including public benefits and student loans. Never take these risks with your future.
Call a Defense Attorney for Assault with Bodily Injury Charges
If you’re facing these charges call a defense lawyer for assault with serious bodily injury cases and do not speak with law enforcement or investigators until your defense counsel is present. Remember, the prosecutor’s office is only interested in building a case against you even if you insist that you are innocent. The more you say to law enforcement officers before speaking with an attorney, the more likely they are to turn your words against you in criminal proceedings. You should always exercise your right to remain silent after you’re arrested and this is even more important if you’re facing felony assault with serious bodily injury charges.
Call 817-435-2909 now to schedule a free case evaluation with the Hampton Law Firm. Our team of defense attorneys know how to fight serious assault charges and have brought hundreds of cases to trial.