An aggravated assault charge is one in which one of the following factors is present:
- Serious injury was caused
- A weapon was used in the assault
While most people think of a weapon as a gun or a knife, in reality any object used to cause physical harm, or the threat of physical harm, could be considered a “weapon.” Hitting someone with a rock, for example, could be considered assault with a weapon.
This charge is usually a 2nd-degree felony carrying potential penalties of between 2 and 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
However, certain factors can cause an aggravated assault charge to be enhanced to a 1st degree felony. Some of these circumstances are:
- The defendant is related to or has a domestic relationship with the victim.
- The defendant is a public servant on duty at the time of the incident.
- The victim is a public servant who was on duty at the time of the incident.
- The victim was a witness to a crime, an informant, emergency service workers, or a security guard.
A public servant can include people working in all levels of government, such as elected officials, police officers, and firefighters.
If charged as a 1st-degree felony, the penalty can be from 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to criminal penalties imposed by a court, an assault conviction can affect your life in many other ways. It can impact your financial life by hindering your ability to get a job, find housing, or get a car loan. It can affect custody arrangements for minor children and can lead to deportation or denial of citizenship if you are not a U.S. citizen. It can result in the loss of your right to own a firearm or serve on a jury.
If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault in Houston Texas, it’s important to seek assistance from an attorney who has experience in handling assault cases. Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a former prosecutor who now uses her experience and skills to fight for the legal rights of those facing criminal charges. Contact her today for a free consultation.