There are two main distinguishing — or aggravating — factors elevating simple assault to aggravated assault.
First, the bodily harm must be “serious,” which does not necessarily mean permanent but can include broken bones, disfigurement/scarring, loss of senses, impairment or loss of a bodily function, or permanent disability. The Texas Penal Code defines aggravated assault as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing serious bodily injury to another person.” (Recklessly means without regard for the consequences.)
Second, the accused has to use or exhibit — “flash” — a deadly weapon during the assault, or wield one while threatening an assault. Deadly weapons naturally include knives and firearms, but even bricks or rocks picked up at the scene can be so categorized. The Penal Code defines this as “using or exhibiting a deadly weapon in the course of committing any assault crime, including threatening another with bodily injury or engaging in conduct that the victim likely will find offensive.”
The Texas Penal Code recognizes two levels of aggravated assault:
- First-Degree Felony: domestic violence in which a deadly weapon caused serious bodily injury. Five years to life in prison.
- Second-Degree Felony: causes serious injuries (with or without a weapon) or threatens someone with a deadly weapon. Two to 20 years in prison.
One other aspect to note here: A victim may ask to drop charges, but the District Attorney has sole power over the charging process and can continue the case even without the victim’s consent.
The Need for
Experienced Legal Counsel
Anyone facing aggravated assault charges in Texas is in a fairly precarious legal position and in need of the best possible criminal defense representation. If you are convicted of aggravated assault, you’ll be facing more than fines and prison time. The consequences can last a lifetime. Since aggravated assault is a felony, you will lose the right to own and bear firearms. You may also face diminished employment and housing opportunities.
The Law Office of Thomas R. Cox seeks to understand each client’s unique situation. They recognize that people are often victims of their circumstances and can find themselves in unfortunate situations, and out of what they deem to be a necessity, they sometimes take actions they wouldn’t otherwise take.
Attorney Tom Cox can explain the circumstances of the offense to the DA’s office in a way that improves the prosecutor’s understanding of the client’s situation and maximizes their chances of getting the case dismissed or the charges reduced.