Aggravated Assault Texas denotes, by the law, a person committing an assault on another person while using or threatening to use a deadly weapon. Since you can commit an assault without harming another person, it is enough to threaten another one with harm; and so it is entirely possible to be charged with an Aggravated Assault without harming anyone.
The fact of possession of a deadly weapon in itself does not mean that it was used in an assault; manner of use of a weapon or means of such is decided by the court. For example, the court may rule that it was an Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon if possession of deadly weapons was used as means of intimidation of the victim.
The legal definition of Deadly Weapon
There are few definitions of Deadly Weapon, according to the law: firearms, an object specifically made to cause serious harm or death, or any object that was used to cause serious harm or death;
As you can see, firearms are always classified as a Deadly Weapon, but almost anything may be classified as such in context: a tire iron, a wrench, a heavy cup. There have been cases where fists were classified as a Deadly Weapon when they were used to cause death or serious bodily harm to the victim. Texan courts use a list of different factors to ascertain whether a person committed a usual assault while in possession of Deadly Weapon or an actual Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon and whether weapon in possession was a Deadly Weapon or not (unless it is a firearm). Those factors are:
- Proximity between the object and the victim – how close is it to be threatening or to cause harm;
- Whether defendant used threats or not – self-explanatory, I believe;
- Object’s characteristics – how big it is, is it sharp, etc.;
- Whether it is possible to cause serious injury and/or death with that object or not – once again, pretty self-explanatory;
- How defendant was using that object – was its use in a threatening manner, did he hold it in his hands or was it just lying in his pocket;
All of those factors are being studied in complex and with taking into account all of the case details. So no factor alone is definitive but only their sum, though there are some evidence and testimonies that will have a definitive influence on court’s verdict, such as wounds consistent with object’s profile and expert testimony.
The legal definition of a Serious Bodily injury
In the legal system, “bodily injury” is defined as a physical impairment, illness or pain, while the Serious Bodily injury is an injury that causes the death of a victim or a serious risk of death, causes a disfigurement, etc. You can find all the definitions of Texas penal code here.
Determination of whether the injury is a Serious Bodily injury or not is made on case-by-case basis, so an injury that was ruled as a Serious one in a similar case might not be ruled as such in the current one. Of course, the fact that medical treatment lessened impact of injury does not affect the ruling on the seriousness of it.
Legal punishment for Aggravated Assault in Texas
Typically Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapons is a second-degree felony that is punishable by 2 to 20 years in a state jail and a fine up to 10 000$. But it can be upgraded to a first-degree felony with a sentence from five years to a life sentence if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- If an assault causes serious bodily injury, is committed using a deadly weapon and involve family or dating violence.
- If it is committed against a public worker in an official capacity.
- If it is committed against a witness, informant or someone who reported the crime.
- If it is committed against a police officer in his official capacity.
- If it is a shooting that caused a serious bodily injury to its victim.
But, as with any other crime, if the case is dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty by the court, there will be no minimum punishment for the defendant.