How Assault Charges Become Aggravated Assault Charges

How Assault Charges Become Aggravated Assault Charges

Texas law considers simple assault any action that attempts to physically harm another person, or actually does so. While this is a serious criminal charge that can lead to extensive jail time, high fines paid to the state, and restitution paid to the victim, matters for the accused will be even worse if they are charged with aggravated assault. How does this escalation occur?

There are two circumstances that can constitute aggravated assault:

  • The offender causes seriously bodily injury to another person, or could have caused serious bodily injury due to their intentional or reckless actions.
  • The offender uses or wields a potentially deadly weapon in a way that can be considered deadly conduct.

While these considerations do provide some answers to what is and what isn’t aggravated assault, there is still room for clarification. In particular, what does Texas law consider to be a serious bodily injury? If a wound could lead to death, permanent disfigurement, or an extended loss of bodily function, it is a serious bodily injury. In this regard, a laceration that is not necessarily life-threatening but requires stitches and forms a noticeable scar would still be considered a serious bodily injury.

It must also be known what is considered to be deadly conduct, which actually varies depending on the deadly weapon in question. Slashing or swiping at someone with a blade or blunt instrument is deadly conduct. Discharging a firearm at someone, or in the general direction of a building or vehicle that may have occupants, is deadly conduct. Even driving recklessly enough that your behaviors could feasibly cause someone else to get into a car accident can be considered deadly conduct under Texas law.

What to Do If Charged with Aggravated Assault

In most cases, aggravated assault with be charged initially as either a second degree or first degree felony. Convictions for felonies of these levels can lead to sentencing that includes a minimum of two years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, you need to start thinking about how you can defend yourself now.

With the help of The Law Office of Samuel R. Terry, you might be able to have your charges dismissed or reduced to a low-level misdemeanor in circumstances of overwhelming evidence. The firm’s Fort Worth criminal defense attorney has impressive courtroom experience and can prepare your case for litigation if need be. Contact the firm today to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your rights and options as someone who is criminally accused.