In Texas, aggravated assault is a felony offense. If you face a Texas aggravated assault charge, you will be facing imprisonment, steep fines and a permanent criminal record if convicted. This is a serious charge and you will need the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney on your side. An experienced Houston violent crimes lawyer will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and build a defense strategy that helps you achieve the best possible outcome.
What is a Texas Aggravated Assault Charge?
Aggravated assault is defined under Texas Penal Code Section 22.02. A person commits aggravated assault if he or she commits an assault as defined under Section 22.01 and either:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person or
- Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault
Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any body part or organ.
Penalties for an Aggravated Assault Conviction in Texas
Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony, which carries a punishment of:
- 2 to 20 years imprisonment
- A fine of up to $10,000
A Texas aggravated assault charge can be enhanced to a first-degree felony if the person uses a deadly weapon during the commission of a family violence assault and causes serious bodily injury or commits an offense against a public official, security guard, informant or witness to a crime. A first-degree felony carries a punishment of:
- 5 years to 99 years or life in a state penitentiary
- A fine of up to $10,000
Aside from the penalties listed above, there are a number of collateral consequences you may face if convicted of aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which could lead to a loss of employment and/or professional licenses.
A felony conviction also prevents you from carrying a firearm and could prevent you from leasing a rental property. Additionally, you will likely be required to attend anger management classes or counseling and will have a permanent a criminal record, which could impact your ability to find a job.
The most common defense raised in assault cases is that of self-defense. This is known as an affirmative defense, which means that you admit to the actions alleged by the prosecution, but you are presenting evidence that your actions were justified under the circumstances.
To raise a self-defense argument to a Texas aggravated assault charge, the defense must present evidence that the defendant reasonably believed the force was immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The main issue in self-defense is whether you acted reasonably under the circumstances in protecting yourself or another from an immediate danger or what you reasonably perceived to be a dangerous situation.
In the case of aggravated assault, a key consideration will be whether the force used was proportional to the threat or danger posed. The force used cannot be in retaliation and self-defense will not apply to verbal provocation alone.
Contact an Experienced Houston Aggravated Assault Lawyer
If you have been charged with a violent crime, there is no time to wait. Houston aggravated assault lawyer Ned Barnett will review every aspect of your case to determine the most effective defense strategy and he will aggressively protect your rights. Barnett is board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and he has a proven track record of defending clients against serious felony charges. He understands the devastating effects a conviction can have for the rest of your life and will fight to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Barnett began his career as a state and federal prosecutor in the Houston area, which gives him a deep understanding of the criminal justice system. He has over 20 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer and several years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor in the Houston area.
He was selected to Super Lawyers as a top rated criminal defense lawyer in 2015. His outstanding qualifications and trial skills have earned him a stellar reputation in the legal community and he has been asked to speak to other attorneys on various issues involving criminal defense law.
Attorney Ned Barnett provides personal, straightforward communication to all of his clients and he will work to make sure that you receive fair treatment at each stage of the criminal process. If you are facing a Texas aggravated assault charge, contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a consultation about your case.