What to do if you’re charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Houston, TX
In Texas, there are several issues to consider if you or a loved one are facing a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. The first thing you need to do is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Matthew D. Sharp to protect your rights to the fullest extent possible.
In the meantime, continue reading to find out:
What does Texas law say about the charge of assault with a deadly weapon?
Texas criminal code
The Texas penal code defines “assault with a deadly weapon” as a possible first-degree felony if 1 of the following conditions are met:
- Serious bodily injury occurs to the body of a spouse or former spouse, a domestic intimate partner, another family member and/or one of their intimate partners
- Serious bodily injury to a public servant acting in their official capacity
- A firearm is recklessly discharged from a motor vehicle towards a home, business or another vehicle, causing serious harm or injury to another party
If you are charged with a second-degree felony, you are still looking at a potential sentence of up to 20 years, as well as fines that can reach as high as $10,000.
Under section 1.07 in the Texas Penal Code, “serious bodily injury” means an injury resulting in “a substantial risk of death, or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
Deadly weapons in Texas
What constitutes a deadly weapon in Texas?
Texas Penal Code §1.07(a)(17) defines a deadly weapon as a “firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury, or anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.”
The list can include (but is not limited to):
- Brass knuckles
Penalties and punishments for assault with a deadly weapon
The penalties for this conviction can range from 5 to 99 years in prison, meaning you have no choice but to take this charge extremely seriously. You need to know your options for the best possible defense against these serious charges. That’s why it’s important to retain representation before answering any interview questions with law enforcement.
Intent matters, and as such, this charge requires that you knowingly caused these injuries, and acted with the intent of causing serious, grievous harm or death.
Knowing the rights provided to you under Texas statutes can make an immeasurable difference in the outcome of your case.
Possible defenses for assault with a deadly weapon in Texas
So how can an assault defense lawyer help you?
First, your attorney will review all the details of the reported crime and go over the facts of the case and options for you moving forward. There may be extenuating circumstances that police have not yet discovered or even witnesses that can help your standing.
When you are accused of assault with a deadly weapon, we can explore effective defenses against this charge, including:
- Self-defense. In Texas, the law allows you to use deadly force to protect your life and bodily integrity.
- No intent. It may be possible to have these charges reduced or dropped if we can show that you didn’t intend harm beyond the action in question.
- No deadly weapon was involved. If it can be shown that there was not, in fact, a deadly weapon present during the incident, charges may be reduced significantly.
- Wrong person. If there is a chance that you were misidentified, and we can show there is a possibility that another person is the one who committed the offense, then it’s likely we can have the case dismissed.
- You didn’t know the victim was a civil servant or public worker at the time of the assault. If the state is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense with knowledge of the victim’s role as a public servant, there is a chance to have the charges reduced.
Under section 22.02, you are “presumed to have known the person was a public servant or security officer if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge,” meaning if there were no distinctive traits, you may be able to show you didn’t know this person was present in an official capacity.
- Lack of evidence. A prosecutor must show evidence that will prove that you were the person responsible for the assault in all criminal proceedings. If they are lacking this evidence, which can include eyewitness accounts, as well as forensic evidence, and aren’t able to show without a doubt that you are the one responsible, prosecutors may find themselves unable to proceed with these charges against you.
- Consent. Section 22.06 of the Texas Penal Code states that “consent is a defense to assaultive conduct.” This can be determined if the “conduct did not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury,” or if the victim was aware that such conduct was a risk of their job, of a medical procedure or trial, and/or as the result of an experiment using recognized scientific methods.
No matter when or where the incident occurred, if you find yourself facing the charge of assault with a deadly weapon, it’s critical to act fast in your own best interests by contacting an experienced assault defense attorney to assist you in your defense.