Harris County Aggravated Assault Defense
Aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon is a serious felony offense in Houston. A conviction for aggravated assault can result in severe penalties, including lengthy prison time and a large fine. Such a conviction can also adversely impact your future, such as by losing many educational, employment, housing and public assistance opportunities. A conviction for such a crime of violence will also prevent you from ever owning or possessing a firearm.
It is important to hire an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer because criminal charges for aggravated assault do not have to result in a conviction and the resulting lifelong consequences. In order to convict you, the state prosecutor must prove to a jury that you committed every element of the felony offense beyond a reasonable doubt. With an experienced trial lawyer defending you, this is a very difficult burden to meet, and any reasonable doubt in the mind of any of the members of the jury can result in a not guilty verdict or a hung jury. Therefore, it is vital to contact an experienced criminal attorney in Houston who will fight for you.
If you have been charged with the criminal offense of aggravated assault in Harris county or any of the surrounding counties in Texas, contact James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free phone consultation at 281-546-6428. Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced trial lawyer who will fight for your rights, freedom and future.
Aggravated Assault in Houston
According to section 22.02 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with aggravated assault if they cause serious bodily injury to another or use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault offense.
According to section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can commit assault in Texas if they intentionally or knowingly cause or threaten to cause bodily injury to another person, or cause offensive physical contact to another person.
What is Bodily Injury and Serious Bodily Injury in Texas?
According to section 1.07(a)(8) of the Texas Penal Code, “bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
According to section 1.07(a)(46) of the Texas Penal Code, “serious bodily injury” means 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.
What is a Deadly Weapon in Texas?
According to case law, three things can qualify as deadly weapon:
- anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or
- anything else that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
Examples of Deadly Weapons
There are not many deadly weapons listed as such per se. According to Section 46.01 of the Texas Penal Code, deadly weapons commonly used during the commission of aggravated assault offenses can include any of the following:
- Explosive weapons,
- Illegal Knife (such as a knife with a blade over five and one-half inches; a hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; a dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard; bowie knife; sword; or spear.)
- Machine gun,
- Short-barrel firearm,
- Switchblade knife
- Chemical dispensing device, and
- Zip gun.
Deadly by Manner and Means of Use
Furthermore, according to case law, there is an extensive list of things that can be proven to be deadly by the way the accused used them during the commission of the aggravated assault offense, including:
- Coke bottle
- Leg of a bar stool
- Ax handle
- Motor vehicle
- BB gun
- Wooden stick
- Dumpster in which a baby is discarded
Punishment for Aggravated Assault in Houston
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the felony punishment for aggravated assault in Houston.
Aggravated assault is usually charged as a second degree felony. A conviction for such a felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000.
However, aggravated assault can be charged as a first degree felony if the assault was committed against:
- a family member or significant other and causes that person serious bodily injury;
- a public servant while the public servant was discharging an official duty
- a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
- in retaliation against a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime.
A conviction for a first degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Criminal charges for aggravated assault can also result in a first degree felony conviction if the accused is:
- in a motor vehicle,
- 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 causes serious bodily injury to any person.
The punishment for this offense is also a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Defenses to Aggravated Assault in Houston
Occasionally, and in certain circumstances, there may be legal defenses available to aggravated assault. It is important to discuss with an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney the elements of your criminal charges as that attorney can evaluate your case and advise you as to any appropriate defense.
- Self-Defense. According to Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code, a person is permitted to use force, and sometimes deadly force, against the immediate threat of injury or bodily harm.
- Lack of a Deadly Weapon. If your criminal defense attorney can show that a deadly weapon was not present, used or exhibited during the commission of the assault offense, the state prosecutor may reduce or dismiss the aggravated assault charges against you.
- Lack of Intent. Intent is a required culpable mental state to all assault offenses. If your criminal defense lawyer can demonstrate that you did not have the requisite intent to commit assault, the state prosecutor may reduce or dismiss the aggravated assault charges against you.
Grand Jury Defense for Aggravated Assault Charges
If you are accused of aggravated assault, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away because he may be able to win your case at the grand jury. Once your felony case has been indicted by the grand jury, this option is no longer available. Attorney James Sullivan has fought and won many felony cases at the grand jury level throughout his almost 20 years of legal practice, including over 30 felony cases in just the past few years. When a case is dismissed (no billed) by the grand jury, the accused has the immediate right to seek an expunction of the felony charge from their record. Sullivan has been able to do this for many of his clients accused of felony offenses. One of his many client reviews on AVVO:
An AMAZING lawyer
I must say Mr Sullivan is a man of his word. I have a pretty long record so when I had got arrested for Aggravated assault on a family member for my 3rd time, I seriously believed that there was NO hope, but I was wrong. Mr sullivan made sure to make my case a top priority and reassured me that everything would be just fine when I had my doubts, due to my past convictions. My ex girlfriend tried to assault me with a broken wine bottle when i kept telling her i no longer wanted to be with her but when I kept attempting to keep the glass from cutting either one if us, she accidently got hurt in the process. I helped her clean her wound but I asked her to leave as I felt that night had already brought too much drama, and she was highly intoxicated and persistent about gettin aggressive if I didn’t take her back. A month later a warrant was issued for my arrest and I got picked up by the police at my home one morning. I’m forever grateful that I found out about the warrant right before I got arrested because I read about Mr. Sullivan on Google and I decided that he was the man that I wanted to handle my case. My punishment ranges from 2-20 years and I knew for sure with my long record and the seriousness of that crime that the d.a wouldn’t offer me the minimum. Mr sullivan was very down to earth and really cared about gettin this case dismissed for me so that I could get back in school and continue my life as a productive member of society. Several weeks passed because the prosecutor kept delaying the process, and I started to get a bit discouraged but Mr. Sullivan’s confidence and reassurance about my case and all of the evidence he gathered for me helped me so much. Sure enough everything he told me that he would do, he did. He got my case dismissed and I’m back in school just like he said to me. Thank you so much Mr. Sullivan, youre truly a blessing and I don’t know what I would’ve done without you 🙂
–Posted by Andrea on November 8, 2015
James Sullivan graduated from the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.
Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free phone consultation at 281-546-6428 about your aggravated assault charges in Harris County (Houston), Montgomery County (Conroe), Fort Bend County (Richmond), Brazoria County (Angleton), Galveston County (Galveston), Matagorda County (Bay City), Waller County (Hempstead), Washington County (Brenham), Liberty County (Liberty), Chambers County (Anahuac), Jefferson County (Beaumont) and throughout Texas.
Certainly each case is different. Similar results may not be obtained in your case and past performance is no guarantee of future results.
|CRIMINAL OFFENSE||ACTUAL RESULTS||CT #|
|Aggravated Assault||NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client, a disabled vet, shot and seriously wounded a former friend who was high on drugs, broke in his house right after being ordered to leave the premises and attempted to attack him)||351st|
|Aggravated Assault in Montgomery County||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot and seriously wounded a violent felon who was trying to steal his car at nighttime)||359th|
|Aggravated Assault||NOT GUILTY VERDICT BY JURY (Client believed he was about to be robbed by 2 men outside a bar; client claimed self-defense)||232nd|
|Aggravated Assault in Montgomery County||REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT WITH DEFERRED ADJUDICATION AFTER IT WAS SET FOR A JURY TRIAL (Client allegedly pistol whipped an adult teen after he and his 3 friends endangered him and his family by egging the front windshield of his car early in the morning and causing him to run off the road, causing over $4,000 in damages to his car)||359th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of throwing a 12 lb glass trophy at his father and hitting him in the back)||178th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence (Felony Habitual)||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY AFTER FACING 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON (Client accused of slashing her ex-girlfriend's face. A witness at the scene supported client's version that her ex-girlfriend attacked her first with a broken wine bottle and cut her wrist and that her ex-girlfriend was accidentally injured in a struggle over the bottle)||180th|
|Aggravated Assault||JURY TRIAL SETTING: DISMISSED BY STATE (Juvenile client allegedly attacked an older boy with a handmade weapon after the older came over to his house to kill him)||315th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of trying to run her baby's daddy over with her Jeep and with their young son on the front passenger seat and in view of two nearby independent witnesses. In reality, he threw his bicycle in front of her Jeep to cause her to come to a screeching halt and then cursed at her. After she drove off, he lied to the witnesses about what happened)||180th|
|Aggravated Assault||REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR DEADLY CONDUCT WITH TIME SERVED AFTER IT WAS SET FOR A JURY TRIAL (Client was accused of threatening a woman with a firearm in Galveston County)||405th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR DEADLY CONDUCT with 30 days of actual jail time (Client accused of ramming into his girlfriend's car with her in it with his car)||230th|
|Aggravated Assault in Brazoria County||PUNISHMENT reduced to 9 months regular probation at home (At age 16, Juvenile client got into a fight with an 18 year old drug dealer that resulted in the dealer requiring brain surgery. The State only offered 5 years determinate probation or to certify him as an adult with deferred adjudication. Sullivan insisted on a jury trial or a regular probation that could be sealed at age 19. The State backed down and agreed)||CCL 4|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot his brother in the side after his brother stabbed him in the arm. The client's brother was high on synthetic marihuana)||248th|
|Aggravated Assault||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of shooting another guy's motorcycle twice while the guy was on it after the guy had broken the client's custom table)|
|Aggravated Assault||CASE DISMISSED (Juvenile client ran over drug dealer to save friend's life. The complainant suffered a broken hip. The case was re-filed as a Failure to Stop and Render Aid and then the new case was also later dismissed)||315th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE DISMISSED (Juvenile client was accused of threatening her mother with a steak knife)||315th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of intentionally trying to drive into and strike his girlfriend)||183rd|
|Aggravated Assault||CASE DISMISSED (Juvenile client was accused of threatening to stab classmate in the neck with a pair of sharp scissors)||314th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CLIENT RECEIVED DEFERRED ADJUDICATION PROBATION AFTER SENTENCING HEARING (Client with mental illness stabbed his girlfriend in the arm and upper back. State only offered prison time)||174th|
|Aggravated Assault Family Violence||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of intentionally driving into and hitting the new girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend)||232nd|
|Aggravated Assault||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting man in head with beer bottle outside a bar; client claimed self-defense)||232nd|
|Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Police Officer shot at 4 unarmed teenagers in a truck and claimed that client pointed a gun at him) - Case # 1291937||263rd|
|Aggravated Assault||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting other woman in head with metal pole) - Case # 1281977||174th|
|Aggravated Assault||CASE DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY (Client allegedly brandished a knift and threatened another guy who had stolen his property) - Case # 1270564||176th|