Facing an assault charge in Texas can be overwhelming, but when the charge is enhanced to an aggravated assault, so much more is at stake. Not only is your freedom on the line, but your professional and personal life are too. If you find yourself accused of or charged with aggravated assault, you need to take immediate action to protect yourself. Being charged does not mean you will be convicted, and your choice of lawyer can make all the difference in the world.
When you hire the Wilder Law Firm, more than 25 years of experience will be put to work for you and your future. We are a dedicated team who aggressively fight for our clients and know how to defend these allegations. We know you are putting your trust in us to do everything we can to defend you, and we will. Every aspect of your case will be meticulously reviewed so we can make sure the most effective defense will be put forward. Call us at 214-741-4000 so we can start protecting you now.
What is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is a crime outlined in Texas Penal Code Section 22.02. According to this statute, a person commits aggravated assault if they commit assault as defined in section 22.01 and in addition, they:
- Cause serious bodily injury; or
- Use/display a deadly weapon when committing the assault.
Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is an enhanced charge to aggravated assault and this can occur without anyone being injured. Just threatening someone with a deadly weapon is enough to be charged.
Start Your Defense Today
We have over 25 years of experience working with assault cases. We know the right questions to ask and the right way to approach your case. We will ensure the most effective defense given your unique scenario. I am not a lawyer looking for cookie cutter defense or results – I will carefully review the facts of your case in order to determine the most effective defense for you – no matter how long it takes. We will prepare your defense in a way that will make you confident in our ability to defend you. We will explore factors such as:
- Self defense.
- Mistaken identity.
- Victim lying.
- Self inflicted wound.
- Defense of others.
- Defense of property.
- Lack of mental state.
This is probably the most common defense used in aggravated assault cases. A person can legally defend themself by using force against another when they reasonably believe that force is necessary to protect themself against the other’s use or attempted use of force. To claim self defense, you do not have to wait for the other person to actually hit you. You can defend yourself when they are attempting to harm you. Your perception that you are about to be harmed can be enough to defend yourself.
Oftentimes people accused are identified either in a lineup or by a photographic lineup. Eyewitness identification is one of the least reliable methods of identifying the person who harmed you. Studies have shown people will see what they want to see and remember what they want to remember. Someone has to pay and victims will convince themselves it was you.
When you are in a heated argument with someone, even if it does not get physical, it is easy for them to claim you pointed a gun at them. Most cell phones are black and have been known to be mistaken for a gun when people are involved in road rage. Your significant other can easily claim you threatened them with a knife with no other evidence other than they said you did it.
Self Inflicted Wound
Although more common with simple assault cases, there are people who will harm themselves just to get you in trouble. Self inflicted cuts with a knife have occurred and then the person calls the cops and claims you did it. Once the police see injuries, you are going to get arrested and charged.
Defense of Others
Legally, you can come to the aid of another person to protect them. In doing so, you are justified in using force to defend another if you reasonably believe you would be justified in using force to defend yourself. Depending on the circumstances, you could also be justified in using deadly force.
Defense of Property:
In Texas, you are able to protect your property with the use of force. This also includes the use of deadly force to protect your property. However, you have to reasonably believe the amount of force used was immediately necessary to protect your property.
A person who provokes you into using force cannot then claim it was your fault or self defense. In general, words alone are not enough, but the following three prong test was rendered by a Texas Court in 2016. If you are provoked, there must be evidence that:
- The person did something or use some words that provoked the attack;
- What they did or the words used were reasonably calculated to provoke the attack; and
- What they did or the words were used for the purpose and with the intent that you would have a pretext for inflicting harm upon the other.
It is an affirmative to an aggravated assault charge that you engaged in the aggravated assault because you were compelled by a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to you or another. Compulsion applies when the force or threat of force would render a person of reasonable firmness incapable of resisting the pressure.
A person’s conduct can be justified when they reasonably believe the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm and the urgency or desirability to avoid the harm clearly outweighs, according to ordinary standards of reasonableness, the harm sought to be prevented by the law prescribing the conduct.
Lack of Mental State
In any aggravated assault, the person has to either intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, cause the serious bodily injury or exhibit the deadly weapon. This is more common with simple assaults when someone accidentally hurts another, but bad accidents can occur.
Aggravated Assault Penalties
Aggravated assault is commonly charged as a second degree felony in Texas, but there are some situations where the penalties may be more severe. If charged as a second degree felony, the penalties you face are:
- A prison sentence of 2-20 years.
- A fine of as much as $10,000.
- Probation from 2-10 years.
Situations where aggravated assault can be charged as a first degree felony include:
- The use of a deadly weapon and causing serious bodily harm in a family violence situation.
- Committing this offense against a security guard.
- Committing this offense against a public official.
- Committing this offense against a witness/informant of a crime.
- When committing the offense, the actor is in a motor vehicle and discharges a firearm, acts recklessly, and causes serious bodily harm to another person.
If charged as a first degree felony, the penalties are:
- A prison sentence of 5-99 years.
- A fine of as much as $10,000.
- If classified as a “3G” offense, you are not probation eligible.
There are also collateral penalties associated with aggravated assault. These might include:
- Having a permanent criminal record.
- Inability to carry a firearm.
- Difficulty in obtaining or keeping some professional licenses.
- Inability to hold certain jobs.
- Renting/leasing property issues.
- Requirement of attending counseling or anger management classes.
Your Future and Freedom are Our #1 Priority
At times you can find yourself in a situation where things are getting out of hand and you have to make a split second decision on what to do. You are put in a situation where you have to defend yourself and there are serious injuries as a result or a weapon was used. Your perception in deciding to act in the fashion that you did is what your case and defense is all about. At The Wilder Law Firm, we will focus on you and your defense and will do everything we can to put the most effective defense forward. Call us at 214-741-4000 and let us fight for you.