What You Should Know if You Are Charged with Aggravated Assault

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 74,165 arrests for aggravated assaults in Texas in 2018. More people were arrested for aggravated assault than for murders, rapes, and robberies combined. In short, aggravated assault charges are among the most common charges levied by law enforcement.

In Texas, aggravated assault charges are felony charges. The degree depends on several factors such as whether the defendant or alleged victim was a public servant; whether the alleged assault involved a witness, prospective witness, or an informant; and whether the alleged victim was physically or mentally disabled. Convictions usually mean substantial prison time and heavy fines.

Aggravated assault is defined in Section 22.01 of the Texas statute as an assault that:

  • Causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse
  • Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault

Any person who is accused of committing an aggravated assault is presumed to know the victim was a public servant or security official if that person was wearing a badge or “distinctive uniform.”

There is also a separate charge of aggravated sexual assault.

Defenses to aggravated assault charges

Aggravated assault charges are serious, and you face stiff penalties if convicted. You’ll want to hire an attorney to defend you as soon as you can, so that we can begin building the defense on your behalf. Depending on the exact nature of the charges against you, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, we may be able to argue:

  • A violation of Constitutional rights. Defense lawyers fight to suppress evidence that is obtained in violation of the defendant’s:
    • Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal searches and seizures
    • Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself
    • Sixth Amendment right to confront the witness against him/her and to a speedy trial
  • The burden of proof was not met. The prosecution must prove each and every element of an aggravated assault charge. If it can’t, the defendant should be acquitted.
  • Your actions do not fit the legal statutes defining aggravated assault. If the alleged injuries sustained aren’t serious, or there is little to any evidence of a “deadly” weapon, the charges may be reduced or dismissed. Under the law, to fit the definition of aggravated assault, the following must be true:
    • Section 1.07 of the Texas Penal Code defines serious bodily injury as: “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.
    • “Deadly weapon” means
      • (A) “A firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury or
    • (B) anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.”
  • Justification for self-defense. In some cases, a defendant may be able to argue his/her actions were in self-defense, that the victim consented to the attack in some way, or that there were other reasons to believe the assault was justified or should be reduced to an assault charge.

Other defenses may also apply depending on what happened.

At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our Killeen aggravated assault defense lawyers have been fighting for defendants for several decades. Prosecutors understand that we have the skills and resources to argue your case before a jury of your peers and to make persuasive arguments before the judges assigned to your case. We fight every step of the way to help you obtain your freedom. To discuss an aggravated assault case, call us at 254-680-4655 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment. Our offices are located in Killeen and Copperas Cove.