Whenever an individual engages in activity that they know (or reasonably should know) will place someone’s life in danger, he or she is guilty of deadly conduct according to Texas law. This is a serious offense that ironically does not even have to result in injury in order to be a crime. These charges normally arise whenever someone brandishes a firearm, but could be used in other instances as well.
Charges of deadly conduct can be brought, even if a weapon is not loaded and the actor had no intent to actually pull the trigger. The only intent that must be shown in this instance is the intent to perform the act of brandishing a weapon. Likewise, if an individual fires a weapon into a building or vehicle, this could also result in charges being filed, even if no one is inside them.
This crime is considered to be a third degree felony whenever it involves the use of a firearm. The resulting penalties could then include:
- Up to 10 years in state prison
- Fine of up to $10,000
- Loss of firearms license
When the act does not include a firearm, it is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor, with sanctions that include:
- Up to one year in jail
- Fine of no more than $4,000
Texas law allows for an affirmative defense whenever an individual accidentally discharges a firearm without the intent to threaten or intimidate others. For example, if a person accidentally discharges a rifle into a building while hunting, he or she should not be charged with a crime. The role of a defense attorney is to carefully weigh the circumstances in order to determine if the state of Texas has overreacted and charged someone with a crime when an act was clearly an accident.
If you have been accused of deadly conduct, contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp for legal consultation at 713-868-6100.