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Aggravated Assault

Whereas the phrase “bodily injury” in many so-called simple assault cases has an extremely broad definition that can generally be applied to any incident in which a person claims to have felt pain, aggravated charges for this offense stem from acts that result in serious bodily injury. This definition is far more rigid, and thus, the possible penalties a person faces if charged with assault causing serious bodily injury are also much more severe.

A person who has been arrested for this far more serious assault not only faces enormous fines, but also the very real possibility of being sentenced to spend the rest of his or her life in prison. Prosecutors will be very unwilling to compromise on these charges, making it enormously important for all alleged offenders to make sure that they are working with someone who can provide the strongest possible defense.

Austin Assault with Serious Bodily Injury Lawyer

If you have been arrested for allegedly committing assault that caused serious bodily injury to another person, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett aggressively defends clients from Austin against these charges, but our firm also serves many surrounding areas such as Sunset Valley, Lago Vista, West Lake Hills, Bee Cave, Lakeway, and Pflugerville.

Kevin Bennett is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association as well as the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He can provide an exhaustive evaluation of your case when you call (512) 476-4626 to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

Texas Aggravated Assault Information Center

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Travis County Charges for Assault with Serious Bodily Injury

The definition of bodily injury under Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) includes physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition, meaning a person could potentially be charged with a misdemeanor for seemingly minor physical actions like a hair pull. However, Texas Penal Code § 1.07(46) defines serious bodily injury 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.

Under Texas Penal Code § 22.02, a person commits aggravated assault if he or she commits assault that causes serious bodily injury to another person, including his or her spouse. This offense is classified as a second-degree felony, but charges can be elevated to a first-degree felony offense if the alleged offender used a weapon in the commission of the alleged assault or it was committed either:

  • 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
  • Against a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer

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Habitual Felony Offender Enhancements in Texas for Aggravated Assault

Because this crime is classified as a felony, an extremely important aspect for any alleged offender with a prior criminal record to keep in mind is the very real possibility that he or she may be considered a habitual felony offender in Texas. Under Texas Penal Code § 12.42, this means that an alleged offender can be subject to drastically increased prison sentences.

Texas Penal Code § 12.42(b) states that if an alleged offender has previously been convicted of a felony other than a state jail felony and is charged with a second-degree felony, he or she can be punished for a first-degree felony. Under Texas Penal Code § 12.42(c)(1), an alleged offender who has been previously convicted of a felony other than a state jail felony and is charged with a first-degree felony can still be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or any term of not more than 99 years, but the minimum sentence is 15 years instead of five years.

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Penalties for Assault with Serious Bodily Injury in Travis County

Any aggravated assault charges carry very significant consequences. The possible punishments depend on the specific classification of the offense.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime that the alleged offender has been accused of, a conviction could result in the following penalties:

  • Second-Degree Felony — Up to of 20 years or life in prison and fine of up to $10,000
  • First-Degree Felony — Up to of 99 years or life in prison and fine of up to $10,000

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Defenses for Aggravated Assault Charges

If you are facing charges for aggravated assault, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation. An experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you have your charges dismissed or reduced. Your attorney can conduct an independent investigation into the charges against you, obtain witnesses, and much more.

Under Tex. Penal Code §9.31, a defendant can use self-defense as a possible defense against an aggravated assault charge. Force against another actor is allowed when he or she reasonably believes that there was immediate threat of injury or death.

Additionally, the law explains that the use of for against another is not justified (1) in response to verbal provocation alone, (2) by resting arrest by a law enforcement officer unless justified in Subsection (c), (3) if the actor consented to the exact force used or attempted by another, and/or (4) if the actor provoked the other’s use or a attempted use of unlawful force.

In other words, a defendant has a right to self-defense and use justifiable force anytime it is justified to do so. However, there is a limit to the specific legal situations that a defendant is allowed to use self-defense.

Additionally, the issue with a self-defense is that the defendant is admitting to the offense and it is up to the jury to determine if the justification of force exists or not. There are other defenses available such as lack of intent or insufficient evidence. A skilled and qualified criminal defense attorney can help you determine the legal options available to you based on the facts of your case.

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Additional Resources

Texas Crime Analysis – Follow the link to view the 2018 Texas Crime Analysis published by Texas Department of Public Safety. The report analyzes violent crimes and property crimes for the 2018 calendar year based on the 2018 population for Texas state.

Texas Penal Code Title V Chapter 22 – Visit the website to view Texas Penal Code. The statutes provide information about assault, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault and sexual assault. Also, it includes penalties, elements of the crime and much more.

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Find the Best Aggravated Assault Lawyer in Austin

Were you arrested in Texas for an assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person? It is critical that you speak to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents clients throughout Austin, including such communities as Manchaca, Hyde Park, Barton Creek, and Travis Heights. Call (512) 476-4626 right now to take advantage of a free, no obligation legal consultation.