Did you know you can face up to 20 years in prison for aggravated assault in Texas without ever injuring anyone? Find out how it can happen. In this video, Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Benson Varghese discusses what every Texan needs to know about aggravated assault.
Imagine getting arrested for a felony offense that can land you in prison for 2-20 years and the alleged victim who claimed you assaulted them has no visible injuries. It can happen. There are three primary ways that a person can be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas. The first two might actually make sense. The third one is often a surprise.
First, if you assault someone and cause serious bodily injury, that means they went to the hospital or they underwent a serious enough injury to where they couldn’t use that part of their body for an extended period of time, that is aggravated assault.
Second, if you cause another person injury while using what could be considered a deadly weapon, that is also aggravated assault. A deadly weapon here could be a knife, a bat, a handgun, or even a person’s hands. It just depends on who’s wielding the instrument and the potential for injury that it could cause.
Third and the most surprising way that a person can be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is by threatening a person while holding a deadly weapon. In other words, a person can call the police and say that you, while holding a kitchen knife, a gun, a bat, pick an object, threaten them. That alone is enough to charge you with aggravated assault, deadly weapon, that 2-20-year charge.
Notice here that there’s no requirement of injuries, no requirement that the person say you put your hands on them, much less used the weapon against them. It’s simply a threat that is alleged to have been made while you were holding a deadly weapon.
There are a number of possible defenses to aggravated assault charges. For the first category of offense, that is an allegation that serious bodily injury occurred, there will be a question as to whether or not the alleged injury actually qualifies as a serious bodily injury.
When the allegation is that you made a threat while holding a deadly weapon, defending that allegation is going to turn on the credibility of the statements that are being made. Has your accuser made statements against other people in the past? Do they have a motivation to lie? Is there a pending family case or divorce case where they’re either trying to take custody of the children or end a marriage? Does the person who’s accusing you have their own criminal history?
We’re also going to look for corroboration or the lack of corroboration of the accusation. For example, if a person alleges you pulled a gun on them and threatened them, when the police came out, did they find a gun? If they found a gun, did it match the description of the one provided by the alleged victim? We also take a look at mitigation information. What in your life makes you stand apart from other people who have been similarly accused?
There’s sometimes a question of whether or not an affidavit of non-prosecution could help your case. In certain counties, it’s actually possible to see a case get dismissed or no billed by a grand jury, just on the basis of an affidavit from the victim, that says, “This offense didn’t occur,” or, “I no longer wish to prosecute this offense.” In other counties, like Tarrant County, an affidavit of non-prosecution is not enough for a prosecutor to dismiss the case. Their position is there could be a variety of reasons that a person comes forward later and changes their statement, whether that’s financial dependency or wanting to mend the relationship. Prosecutors are skeptical of affidavits of non-prosecution to the point that they’re unwilling to dismiss these cases. Still, an affidavit of non-prosecution can be a helpful tool in your attorney’s tool bag
We hope you found this information about aggravated assaults useful. For more information about aggravated assaults, please visit out page on Aggravated Assault in Fort Worth.
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