In Texas, aggravated assault occurs when a person “causes serious bodily injury to another or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.” It can occur between spouses during a domestic dispute, or an aggravated assault may occur at the same time as other disorderly conduct. According to the Texas Penal Code, this crime can lead to a number of consequences, which may include:
- Jail time ranging from 2 to 20 years
- Fine of up to $10,000
- Anger management counseling
Being found guilty of this offense can lead to consequences aside from criminal sanctions. A few of these may be:
- Inability to quality for student loans
- Loss of employment
- Issuance of a protective order
- Inability to obtain a gun permit
Proving the Elements of Aggravated Assault
To secure a conviction for aggravated assault, Houston prosecutors need to prove several things. First, they must prove that an assault did take place. They will also have to prove injury or the use of a deadly weapon. Finally, they must prove the defendant committed the assault. Their ability to prove these elements will depend on the circumstances that surrounded the incident. Most cases are built around witness testimony, which may or may not be accurate. In addition, witnesses can sometimes be coerced into changing their story after the initial interview. Police often attempt to coerce witnesses to make their story sound more believable to jurors.
Although the penalties for aggravated assault are very high, there are a number of defenses that can be used. Self-defense is a common one used to mitigate charges of aggravated assault. Some people commit this crime as a result of a threat against their person, in which case duress might be a valuable defense. A defendant’s ability to use one of these defenses normally hinges on having an attorney present during questioning so as not to give incriminating testimony during the early stages of the investigation.
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