An assault offense involving no aggravating factors is commonly referred to as a simple assault, but an assault that causes serious bodily injury to another person is considered an aggravated assault. An aggravated assault could also involve the use of a deadly weapon.
The Texas Penal Code provides specific definitions for deadly weapons, and assault with a deadly weapon will result in felony charges. Convictions not only carry very heavy immediate penalties, but also significant long-term consequences.
If you or your loved one were arrested for an alleged assault with a deadly weapon in the greater Fort Worth area, you are going to want to make sure that you have legal representation before you say anything to authorities. You will want to contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Our firm can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
A person commits assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.01 when they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse, intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse, or intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative. A person commits aggravated assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.02 if they commit an assault that causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse, or they use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
A deadly weapon is defined under Texas Penal Code §1.07(a)(17) as a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury, or anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Weapons are covered under Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code, and Texas Penal Code § 46.01 lists definitions for all of the following weapons:
● Club — An instrument that is specially designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument, and includes but is not limited to a blackjack, nightstick, mace, and tomahawk.
● Explosive Weapon — Any explosive or incendiary bomb, grenade, rocket, or mine, that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, or for the principal purpose of causing such a loud report as to cause undue public alarm or terror, and includes a device designed, made, or adapted for delivery or shooting an explosive weapon.
● Firearm — Any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899 or a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition.
● 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.
Assault with a deadly weapon is usually a second-degree felony but can be classified as a first-degree felony if:
● 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;
● An 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 a family or household member or dating partner; or
● The offense is committed by a public servant acting under color of the servant's office or employment, against a person the alleged offender 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 alleged offender knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer.
Assault with a deadly weapon convictions are generally punishable as follows:
● Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
● First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
Even when a person is released from prison after being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, the conviction can carry steep consequences for many other aspects of their daily life. Employers may not make job offers and landlords might be less likely to offer homes to people with assault with a deadly weapon convictions.
Some people are charged with assault with a deadly weapon for alleged offenses that did not actually involve deadly weapons. When an item has been misclassified, an attorney may be able to get the criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed.
Another common defense could be a self-defense or defense of others claim. Some alleged offenders may be able to claim their actions were not intentional.
Penal Code Offenses by Punishment Range — This Texas Attorney General document gives an overview of criminal penalties in Texas. As noted here, assault other than a first-degree felony or Class A misdemeanor assault committed within an area subject to a declaration of disaster or an emergency evacuation order will lead to the punishment being increased to the next highest category under Texas Penal Code § 12.50. The minimum punishment is increased to 180 days for a Class A misdemeanor assault committed within an area subject to a declaration of disaster or an emergency evacuation order.
Texas Penal Code | Chapter 46 | Weapons — You can view all state laws relating to weapons. Find information about unlawful possession or transfer crimes. Also learn more about increased penalties for offenses committed within weapon-free school zones.
Were you or your loved one arrested for an alleged assault with a deadly weapon in Fort Worth or a surrounding area of Tarrant County? You are going to want to be sure that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy handles all kinds of weapons offense cases in Tarrant County. We will provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.