Charges of aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon in Dallas can result in serious penalties and repercussions. Since these offenses are considered crimes of violence, there are generally limited options for alternative punishments to prison and/or steep fines. Additionally, an individual can face an inability to own or possess a firearm, loss of certain types of government assistance, and ineligibility to apply for certain jobs and occupations.
It is important to remember that simply because you have been accused of an assault offense does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of the crime. The prosecution is required to prove you committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If your experienced criminal defense lawyer in Dallas is able to cast the slightest doubt on the prosecution’s case, the judge or jury will not be able to convict you of your alleged offense. This can result in a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Aggravated assault allegations can arise from a number of situations, many of which may have been accidental or unintentional crimes. Therefore, it is essential to consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Dallas who will listen to your side of the story and develop the best possible legal defense for your particular situation.
Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, and Richardson, TX
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas.
Richard C. McConathy is knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’ violent crime laws and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions of your alleged offense. Call our firm for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700 about your alleged aggravated assault crime.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery in Texas?
Assault and battery are two legal terms you may have heard used together before; they are closely related, so it’s no surprise that they’re often charged alongside each other.
But understanding the difference between assault and battery can be confusing. This is because the legal definition of these charges differs depending on the jurisdiction.
According to Texas Penal Code § 22.01, assault is committed when a person does one of the following:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes physical harm to another person, including their spouse;
- intentionally or knowingly threatens to commit physical harm to another person, including their spouse; or
- intentionally or knowingly makes unwanted physical contact with a person who regards the contact as provocative or offensive.
Texas Penal Code § 22.02(a) establishes that a person commits aggravated assault when they commit an assault and:
- cause serious bodily injury to another person, including the alleged offender’s spouse; or
- use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
There is no distinct statute outlawing battery in Texas; assault and battery are charged under a single statute. But that’s not the case everywhere. In other states, the two crimes are charged separately.
In the jurisdictions that distinguish between the charges, assault is the threat of unwanted contact. Unwanted contact can include both violent acts and those with a sexual component. In some states, the separate charge of battery is defined as physical contact that is harmful or offensive.
Dallas Aggravated Assault Offenses
If an alleged assault offender uses a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury or death during the commission of the offense, they can be charged with aggravated assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.02. According to Texas Penal Code § 46.01, weapons commonly used during the commission of aggravated assault offenses in Texas can include:
- An explosive weapon
- Machine gun
- Short-barrel firearm
- Firearm silencer
- Switchblade knife
- Armor-piercing ammunition
- Chemical dispensing device
- Zip gun
- Bowie knife
- Illegal knife
Bodily Injury Defined in Texas
Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) defines bodily injury as including physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition. Under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(46), serious bodily injury is defined as meaning bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Most aggravated assault offenses require victims to suffer some kind of bodily injury in order to increase an alleged offense from assault to aggravated assault.
Aggravated Assault Penalties in Dallas
Texas Penal Code § 22.02(b) states that aggravated assault is typically a second-degree felony, but the crime can become a first-degree felony if:
- the alleged offender uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and causes serious bodily injury to a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b) (dating relationship), Texas Family Code § 71.003 (family, which includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.), or Texas Family Code § 71.005 (household, meaning a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other);
- the offense is committed by a public servant acting under color of the servant’s office or employment, against a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant, in retaliation against or on account of the service of another as a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime, or against a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
- the alleged offender is in a motor vehicle and knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle, is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied, and, in discharging the firearm, causes serious bodily injury to any person.
Assault with a deadly weapon is a separate crime that could involve any of the following weapons:
- Firearm Silencer — Any device designed, made, or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm.
- Handgun — Any firearm that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one hand.
- Location-Restricted Knife — A knife with a blade over five and one-half inches.
- Knife — Any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument.
- Knuckles — Any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in the knuckles.
- Machine Gun — Any firearm that is capable of shooting more than two shots automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
- Short-Barrel Firearm — A rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or a shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches, or any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle if, as altered, it has an overall length of less than 26 inches.
- Armor-Piercing Ammunition — Handgun ammunition that is designed primarily for the purpose of penetrating metal or body armor and to be used principally in pistols and revolvers.
- Hoax Bomb — A device that reasonably appears to be an explosive or incendiary device or by its design causes alarm or reaction of any type by an official of a public safety agency or a volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies.
- Chemical Dispensing Device — A device, other than a small chemical dispenser sold commercially for personal protection, that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of dispensing a substance capable of causing an adverse psychological or physiological effect on a human being.
- Zip Gun — A device or combination of devices that was not originally a firearm and is adapted to expel a projectile through a smooth-bore or rifled-bore barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance.
- Tire Deflation Device — A device, including a caltrop or spike strip, that, when driven over, impedes or stops the movement of a wheeled vehicle by puncturing one or more of the vehicle’s tires. The term does not include a traffic control device that is designed to puncture one or more of a vehicle’s tires when driven over in a specific direction and has a clearly visible sign posted in close proximity to the traffic control device that prohibits entry or warns motor vehicle operators of the traffic control device.
Possible sentences for aggravated assault convictions could include:
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000
Aggravated Assault Defenses in Dallas
A common defense against an aggravated assault charge is whether an injury was actually serious. When an alleged victim’s injuries do not satisfy the definition of serious bodily injury, it could be possible for the criminal charges to be dropped.
When aggravated assault charges are based on an exhibition of a deadly weapon, a possible defense might be that the alleged weapon does not satisfy the state definition. Another common defense in these cases could be self-defense, which is often used to negate criminal charges.
Find A Dallas County Defense Attorney for Aggravated Assault Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your aggravated assault charges throughout Dallas County in Texas. Richard McConathy is an experienced Dallas violent crimes lawyer who will make every effort to fight the allegations against you.
Call (972) 233-5700 or send an online form for a free consultation about your alleged aggravated assault offense throughout Dallas County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Denton County, Collin County, and Tarrant County.