Aggravated assault is classified as a violent crime in Texas. If you face aggravated assault charges, it is essential to know what that means.
If convicted, the consequences can be steep. Working with a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi is recommended. They can review the facts of your case and help develop a strong defense strategy.
At the Burkett Law Firm, we understand Texas assault charges and how they can impact your life. Learn more about these charges and how our attorneys can help here.
Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault in Corpus Christi
In Texas, you can face simple or aggravated assault charges. These are very different charges and, upon conviction, have different consequences. Understanding how they vary is important.
Simple Assault in Corpus Christi
Simple assault occurs when one person intentionally causes physical injury to another, threatens harm, or causes physical contact that the victim finds offensive. This is generally considered a misdemeanor in Texas and could result in fines and possibly jail time.
Aggravated Assault in Corpus Christi
Aggravated assault is a more serious offense. It involves using a deadly weapon or leads to severe bodily injury. The presence of aggravating factors, like those mentioned above, can elevate a simple assault to an aggravated assault charge. This is typically classified as a felony, which could lead to substantial fines and lengthy imprisonment.
Why the Distinction Matters
The stakes are much higher when an assault charge is escalated to aggravated assault. With more severe penalties on the line, including the possibility of years in prison, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi cannot be avoided. They can help to build a solid defense or negotiate a lesser sentence on your behalf.
What Is an Aggravating Factor?
An aggravating factor is any circumstance that increases the severity or culpability of a criminal act. In assault cases, these factors can turn what might otherwise be a misdemeanor into a felony, carrying heavier sentences and more severe penalties.
Common Aggravating Factors in Texas Assault Cases
Aggravating factors vary, but some of the most common include:
Use of a Deadly Weapon
Using a deadly weapon while committing assault is one of the most common aggravating factors. This could include knives, guns, or any other object capable of causing severe physical harm or death.
Severity of Injury
The extent of injury to the victim can also be considered an aggravating factor. For instance, if an assault resulted in serious bodily injury, such as a broken bone or permanent disfigurement, it could elevate the case to a more serious level.
Relationship to the Victim
Your relationship with the victim can be considered an aggravating factor in Texas. For example, assaults against family members or partners may be treated more severely.
If the victim is considered particularly vulnerable, such as being elderly or disabled, the courts may see this as an aggravating factor. Assaults against such individuals are often prosecuted more aggressively.
A prior history of assault or other violent crimes could also work against you. In such cases, you will likely face stiffer penalties, including a potential felony charge.
How Aggravating Factors Affect Sentencing
In Texas, one or more aggravating factors can substantially increase your penalties.
While a simple assault could be a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500, aggravating factors can elevate the offense to a 1st or 2nd-degree felony, which may result in years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.
Specific consequences of an aggravated assault conviction include:
In Texas, aggravated assault is typically classified as a second-degree felony. This could lead to a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years. In certain circumstances, such as assault against a public servant or in a drive-by shooting, the charge could be elevated to a first-degree felony, carrying a prison term of 5 to 99 years.
In addition to imprisonment, you could also face substantial financial penalties. Fines can go up to $10,000 for a second-degree felony and even higher for a first-degree felony. These fines are often in addition to any restitution you may be required to pay the victim.
Permanent Criminal Record
A conviction for aggravated assault will result in a permanent criminal record, which can have lasting repercussions. This can affect your employment opportunities, your ability to secure housing, and even your civil liberties, like the right to vote or own a firearm.
Given the gravity of the potential consequences, seeking legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital if you are facing aggravated assault charges in Texas.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Corpus Christi
Navigating the complexities of Texas assault charges, especially when aggravating factors are involved, is not something you should attempt alone. Hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi is crucial. An experienced lawyer will understand how to:
- Challenge the presence of aggravating factors
- Question the evidence presented against you
- Negotiate for lesser charges or penalties
By doing so, your attorney can significantly influence the outcome of your case, potentially saving you from a harsh sentence that could alter your life forever.
Understanding the Possible Consequences of an Aggravated Assault Conviction in Corpus Christi
As you can see from the information above, aggravated assault charges are serious and have harsh consequences if convicted. At the Burkett Law Firm, we understand the law and how to build a solid defense on your behalf.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule a consultation. We are here to help you and provide the legal services you need when facing Texas assault charges.