When you are facing an accusation of assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, you need to take the charges seriously. Assault with a deadly weapon is a first-degree felony under Texas law when it causes serious bodily injury to another person. The penalties for assault with a deadly weapon are serious and could involve a jail sentence of up to 20 years.
Assault With a Deadly Weapon is Considered Aggravated Assault in Texas
In Texas, aggravated assault includes any assault that causes serious bodily injury to another person. The crime of aggravated assault can also involve an assault committed with a deadly weapon. In Texas, assault with a deadly weapon is a felony offense. The prosecutor bringing charges against you will be seeking a conviction that will result in a lengthy prison sentence and heavy fines. Ensuring that you have a strong legal defense is crucial if you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Elements the Prosecutor Must Prove
One of the best defenses you can make is to show that the prosecutor cannot prove that every element of the crime has occurred. To convict you of assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. There are two main elements to the crime of assault with a deadly weapon. First, the prosecutor must prove that you’ve committed aggravated assault. Assault occurs when the following conditions occur:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person, including the person spouse, or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
Aggravated assault occurs whenever the defendant causes serious bodily injury to another person, including the person’s spouse, or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the assault.
What is Considered a Deadly Weapon in Texas?
There is not an exhaustive list of which items are deadly weapons. The phrase “deadly weapon” is somewhat subjective. A deadly weapon is any firearm or object designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death on another person. A deadly weapon can also include anything that in the manner of its intended use is capable of causing death or serious injury. The Texas Penal Code lists several types of weapons that are considered deadly weapons under Texas law, including:
- Firearm Silencer
- Explosive Weapon
- Armor-Piercing Ammunition
- Chemical Dispensing Device
- Location-Restricted Knife
- Machine Gun
- Hoax Bomb
- Zip Gun
- Short-Barrel Firearm
- Tire Deflation Device
The Penalties for Assault With a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon is typically considered a second-degree felony. However, the defendant will face more serious first-degree felony charges when any of the following conditions occur:
- The defendant used a deadly weapon during the assault and caused serious bodily injury to a person who is a household member or dating partner
- The defendant committed the assault on a public servant
- The defendant assaulted someone in retaliation for acting as a witness or informant about the occurrence of a crime
- The defendant assaulted someone they knew to be a security officer performing their duties as a security officer
As a felony offense, being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in Texas carries severe penalties. Depending on how the crime is graded under the Texas Penal Code, a person convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and could face either one of the following sentences:
- Second-degree felony: up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- First-degree felony: up to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Other long-term consequences can come from a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon. For example, it can be more challenging to apply for jobs or become approved for housing with this type of conviction on your record. You may lose your ability to own a firearm. Additionally, you could face other consequences, such as the social stigma that comes from being convicted of a felony and spending time in jail.
Defenses to the Crime of Assault With a Deadly Weapon
Every case is different, and an experienced lawyer will know how to investigate your case and develop the best legal defense possible. However, there are some common defenses used in assault with a deadly weapon cases. First, you could raise the argument that you were trying to engage in self-defense and protect yourself. In Texas, people have a right to self-defense and defense of other people or property. You will need to show that your use of force was justified to prevent yourself or another person from being injured.
In some cases, the defendant may argue that they were not in possession of a deadly weapon. The defendant could argue that the item they were holding does not constitute a deadly weapon under Texas law or that they were not holding any weapon at all. The offender could argue that their actions were not intentional. Finally, the defendant may be able to say that the police violated their constitutional rights.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer
Attorney Steven Jumes has extensive experience defending clients in a wide range of criminal charges. Working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer is crucial to protect your rights and your freedom. As mentioned above, the penalties for being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon are significant and could affect you for years to come. Contact the Law Offices of Steven Jumes today to schedule your free initial consultation. After carefully investigating your case, attorney Steven Jumes will prepare an effective and aggressive legal strategy.