Austin Aggravated Assault Attorney
Austin Aggravated Assault Lawyer
Aggravated Assault is an especially serious charge. Prosecutors take violent crime seriously, and will not hesitate to seek significant jail time. At ATX Legal, we have years of criminal defense experience fighting criminal charges. We strive to defend our client’s rights and keep up strong lines of communication with our clients and their family.
We have a strong track record of managing these cases with a focus on achieving the most favorable outcomes for our clients. Fill out a contact form below for a free consultation to discuss your case
What Makes “Aggravated” Assault under Texas law
Under Texas law, a simple assault charge escalates to an aggravated assault when it involves causing serious bodily harm to another person, or when a deadly weapon is used during the commission of the assault.
Aggravated assault in Texas will turn a misdemeanor simple assault into a serious felony charge. This distinction has profound implications for the accused. Whereas a misdemeanor assault might result in fines and potential jail time, a felony charge carries much more severe potential consequences.
As a felony, aggravated assault can result in substantial imprisonment, hefty fines, and long-term impacts on personal and professional life, such as loss of certain civil rights and barriers to employment opportunities. Understanding this shift from misdemeanor to felony underscores the necessity for effective legal counsel when facing an aggravated assault charge.
Definition of a Serious Bodily Injury in Texas
In the state of Texas, ‘Serious Bodily Injury’ is defined in the Texas Penal Code (§1.07 (46)). It refers to an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or which leads to serious permanent disfigurement, or causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
For example, injuries such as deep stabbing wounds that could potentially damage internal organs, significant burns leading to permanent disfigurement, or a severe head trauma resulting in lasting brain damage – these all would be classified as serious bodily injuries. It is important to note that the interpretation may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case, and a skilled lawyer can make a significant difference in how the injury is legally defined.
Examples of a Deadly Weapon in Texas
In Texas law, a ‘Deadly Weapon’ is defined as any object that has the potential to cause serious bodily injury or death. This classification extends beyond the typical firearms to include various other objects if used with intent to harm.
For instance, a knife can be deemed a deadly weapon if used with the intent of causing serious injury or death. Similarly, a vehicle, despite its primary function as a mode of transportation, can become a deadly weapon if it is employed purposefully to harm or kill.
In some instances, a club or similar bludgeoning object can also fall within the category of deadly weapons. Believe it or not, even bare fists have been called a deadly weapon by courts. This might occur if an individual uses their hands with lethal force, potentially leading to a serious bodily harm, or even death.
The classification of an object as a deadly weapon is often a product of the circumstances surrounding its use and not the object’s inherent nature. As with serious bodily injuries, the interpretation can vary depending on the specifics of each case, reinforcing the importance of qualified legal representation in such matters.
Aggravated Assault in Domestic Violence Cases
Aggravated assault in the context of domestic violence often involves an added layer of complexity, as it occurs within the confines of what should be a safe, personal space. In Texas, aggravated assault in domestic violence cases is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing serious bodily harm to another person, with the addition of using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
The domestic relationship between the victim and the aggressor may lead to enhanced penalties, such as a family violence finding. The consequences of being convicted of aggravated assault in a domestic violence case can be severe, including imprisonment, hefty fines, and the issuance of a protective order. Hence, those accused need effective legal representation to ensure their rights are protected.
Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges in Texas
In Texas, aggravated sexual assault is a serious felony offense, carrying severe penalties under the law. It is defined as the committing of sexual assault while also causing serious bodily harm to the victim, threatening or placing the victim in fear of death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping, or using a deadly weapon. These offenses encompass a broad variety of actions, with the common thread being the violation of an individual’s rights to personal security and bodily integrity.
The consequences of a conviction for aggravated sexual assault in Texas are severe, with offenders potentially facing a term of life imprisonment, or a sentence that can range between five to ninety-nine years, in addition to hefty fines. Furthermore, those convicted are required to register as sex offenders, leading to long-term social and personal implications. Therefore, individuals facing such charges should seek an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate the complex legal landscape and safeguard their rights.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault Convictions Under Texas Law
In Texas, aggravated assault is typically classified as a second-degree felony, which carries significant penalties. If convicted, individuals can face a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
However, certain conditions can enhance this to a first-degree felony. For instance, if the assault is committed against a public servant, such as a police officer, or if the defendant is in a domestic relationship with the victim and uses a deadly weapon, resulting in serious bodily harm. In such scenarios, the prison sentence may increase to a range of 5 to 99 years or life imprisonment, emphasizing the seriousness of these crimes under Texas law.
Protective Orders in Austin Domestic Violence Cases
A protective order, also known as a restraining order, is a legal injunction issued by a court to protect a person from further harm or harassment. In the context of domestic violence in Austin, Texas, such orders are designed to safeguard the alleged victim from their abuser. When a protective order is issued, the alleged abuser is mandated by the court to cease all forms of contact with the victim.
This can include direct physical contact, phone calls, emails, text messages, or communication through a third party. It is important to read the protective order carefully to determine what is actually prohibited. Violations of a protective order can lead to severe penalties such as imprisonment, fines, or both.
These orders are issued for varying durations depending on the severity of the case, but typically last for 2 years. Temporary protective orders may expire in 90 days. In extreme cases, they can be issued for a lifetime. Protective orders, while a crucial tool in protecting victims, can also significantly impact the rights and freedoms of the accused, thereby making it vital for those facing allegations to seek experienced legal counsel.
Can Aggravated Assault Charges Be Dropped in Texas?
There are several ways an aggravated assault charge may be dismissed in Texas. One potential avenue is demonstrating insufficient evidence. If the prosecution cannot provide solid evidence proving that the accused committed the crime, the judge may dismiss the case.
Another method involves the credibility of the witness. If the primary accuser or witness is found to be untrustworthy or inconsistent in their testimony, the case might be dismissed. If the police violated the accused’s rights during the arrest or investigation, such as failing to read Miranda rights or conducting an unlawful search, the evidence obtained can be suppressed, often leading to dismissal.
Lastly, the participation of the defendant in a pre-trial diversion program such as anger management or other therapeutic interventions could lead to dismissal of charges. However, pretrial diversion is rare for aggravated assault charges. If available, it can be a good way to avoid an aggravated assault conviction.
Frequently Asked Questions About Aggravated Assault in Texas
1. Is Aggravated Assault always a felony in Texas?
Yes, aggravated assault is always considered a felony in Texas. The severity of the felony, either a first or second-degree felony, depends on the specifics of the case, including the identity of the victim and the nature of the injury inflicted.
2. The alleged victim wants to drop the charges, will my case be dismissed?
Not necessarily. In Texas, even if the alleged victim decides to drop charges, the state can still proceed with the case. This decision is made by the prosecutor, not the victim. It’s important to consult with your attorney to understand the implications in your specific situation.
3. I didn’t use a weapon. Why am I charged with Aggravated Assault?
In Texas, aggravated assault charges can be brought if serious bodily injury was caused, even if no weapon was used. The law states that an assault can be “aggravated” if the defendant causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse.
4. Will the aggravated assault charge appear on my criminal record?
Yes, if you are convicted of aggravated assault in Texas, the conviction will appear on your criminal record. This can have significant implications for future employment, housing applications, and other areas where a background check is conducted. Even if the charges are dismissed or you’re acquitted, the arrest may still show up on some types of background checks unless you have your criminal history expunged.
Contact Us to Discuss Aggravated Assault Assault Charges in or Around Travis County
If you or a loved one is facing aggravated assault charges in Central Texas and needs legal representation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. For a free consultation, simply fill out our contact form or text “consult” to 512-677-5003. We’re committed to providing you with the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.