Aggravating Factors in Fort Worth Assault Charges
Things that can make an assault charge much more serious are if it involves a child, an elderly individual or a disabled individual. In that case, what would normally have been a misdemeanor assault, can be made a level felony offense. It can be several different levels of felonies depending upon whether there is serious bodily injury or not.
Assault Charge Enhancements
Texas law defines weapons very liberally. Anything that is in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing bodily injury is considered a weapon. It becomes more specific as to deadly weapons and there are several things that are defined per se as a deadly weapon, such as a handgun, a firearm, a rifle. Any firearm is a deadly weapon per se under Texas law. A knife can be a deadly weapon per se, a club; there are other things like a dagger, stilettos, dirks and a mace that are also specifically named as deadly weapons.
The definition of the deadly weapon also includes anything else that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Depending on the person, it might be their hands. If they are sufficiently trained in martial arts, their hands could be considered deadly weapons. Certainly, a car can be considered a deadly weapon in the manner of its use if someone uses it to run somebody down. Texas law is very liberal in its definition of deadly weapons. If a person commits the offense of assault and uses a deadly weapon, then they have committed the offense of aggravated assault, which is a second-degree felony carrying two years up to twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. That becomes a very serious offense.
Assault and aggravated assault can also be committed without causing injury if a person threatens another. If a person threatens another person with bodily injury, then that can be assault if they do that intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. Similarly, if they threaten a person with a deadly weapon, even though they do not touch them, shoot them or cut them that can be aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because of a threat.
Assault can be committed by actually causing bodily injury or threatening to cause bodily injury or doing so with a weapon. Also, if a person causes bodily injury and that injury is serious bodily injury under Texas law, then that is also aggravated assault. That is also a second-degree felony carrying from two up to possibly twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Texas law defines serious bodily injury as any bodily injury that causes the risk of death or substantial impairment or protracted loss of use of any bodily member or organ. That can be interpreted pretty liberally. For example, if you grab somebody’s finger and twist it and pull it back and they complain that for a year, they could not use that finger, that could be serious bodily injury.