If you’ve been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon in Houston, you’re looking at some serious legal trouble. Prison time and substantial fines are the penalties for being found guilty. And an arrest or conviction for assault with a deadly weapon will permanently remain on your record and could make it hard to get a job, housing, schooling or public assistance. That’s if you get out of jail – some assault charges carry the possibility of being sentenced to life behind bars.
Aggravated Assault Laws in Texas
As defined under Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas penal code, assault is a crime that occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; threatens them in a way that would cause the other person to fear for their safety; or has physical contact with another person in a way that would reasonably be considered offensive or provocative.
Simple assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault are some of the charges that fall under this category. Deadly conduct – such as brandishing a loaded weapon in public – is also considered to be assault.
A person commits aggravated assault if they use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas is usually a second degree felony. It can be bumped up to a first degree felony when the assault is directed against a family member, a public servant (such as a police officer), a security officer, a child, elderly individual, disabled individual or a witness to a crime. A suspect can also be charged with a first degree felony assault with a deadly weapon for a drive-by shooting.
Penalties for a second degree felony conviction in Texas can result in a prison sentence of between 2 and 20 years and fines up to $10,000. A conviction for a first degree felony conviction can get you 5 to 99 years or life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
What Is Considered A Deadly Weapon in Texas?
Title 10, Chapter 46 of the Texas penal code defines what a deadly weapon is. Under Texas law, a weapon can include:
- Clubs (includes blackjacks, nightsticks, maces, tomahawks, etc.)
- Explosive weapons (explosive or incendiary bombs, grenades, rockets or mines)
- Firearms (including silencers and armor piercing ammunition)
- Knives (and swords)
- Knuckles (as in brass knuckles; finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and designed for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in the knuckles)
- Hoax weapons (fake bombs or firearms)
- Chemical dispensing devices (includes tear gas, pepper spray and mace dispensers)
- Zip guns
- Tire deflation devices
- Improvised explosive devices
Fighting Charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Houston
In order to obtain a guilty verdict, the prosecution must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are guilty of the charges that have been filed against you. This is why it’s so important to contact an experienced Houston assault with a deadly weapon attorney to protect your rights. An attorney will be able to examine and evaluate the evidence against you and formulate a solid defense strategy to counter the charges. Possible defenses for a charge of assault with a deadly weapon can include:
- Lack of intent
- Defendant did not know victim was a public servant, security officer, etc.
- No physical injury was inflicted
- Lack of a deadly weapon
- Defendant did not know the alleged action would be considered offensive or provocative
Houston Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss Is Here to Protect Your Rights
If you’ve been arrested on any type of assault charge, contact the law offices of Houston assault attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal situation.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss is an experienced Houston assault with a deadly weapon attorney who will use every legal maneuver to fight the allegations against you and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.