Being charged with a criminal offense is scary. But what’s even scarier is going to court without an attorney. 80 to 90 percent of defendants have no legal representation. Even when they are facing experienced prosecutors, they don’t hire an attorney. Many of them lose, not because they’re guilty, but because they can’t compete with the other side. Hiring an aggravated assault lawyer is essential when you are facing charges. Don’t wait any longer.
If you notice one of the following seven signs, hire an attorney right away.
Aggravated assault is more than punching someone in the face. It has a specific legal definition that many people struggle to understand.
In the state of Texas, “assault” occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to someone else. It also occurs when someone threatens another person with physical injury or touches someone to provoke them.
Aggravated assault in Texas builds on this definition and adds a couple of additional terms. The injury must result in “serious bodily injury” or involve a deadly weapon, like a gun.
Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony. It becomes a first-degree felony if the injured party was a public servant. A second-degree felony carries a minimum prison sentence of two years.
Attorneys know the criminal statutes in and out. They can launch a defense based on the definition of terms.
Under no circumstances should you ever talk to the police without a lawyer. Even if you’re not guilty of an offense, the police can railroad you into a confession.
The Innocence Project is an organization that clears people of wrongful convictions. False confessions caused more than two-thirds of the cases they eventually cleared. Most of these confessions occurred while an attorney wasn’t present.
Do not speak to the police, even if they seem friendly. If you get arrested, assert your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Be explicit and say, “I wish to assert my right to remain silent. I will not answer any questions until my attorney is present.” The Supreme Court ruled in Salinas v. Texas that prosecutors can use a defendant’s silence against them if they don’t say they are remaining silent.
Call an attorney as soon as you can. Remain silent until they arrive.
Police may drop the charges against you. But prosecutors may ask you to appear in court.
You may have been the first person to respond to the assault. You may have known the defendant or victim and you can give character testimony. Whatever the case may be, you should get a lawyer.
If you don’t want to appear in court, a lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution and defense. You can receive a deposition instead, avoiding an appearance at trial. An attorney can squash a subpoena, keeping you from having to testify at all.
If you do appear in court, a lawyer can guide you through the process. They can train you on how to answer questions. They can object to questions that are troublesome or involve personal information.
The overwhelming majority of criminal cases end in a plea deal. In exchange for pleading guilty, you receive reduced charges and/or reduced sentences.
You may avoid an aggravated assault conviction. You may plead guilty to a charge of simple assault, which can keep you out of jail. A criminal defense attorney can negotiate the deal, getting you the best possible terms.
But you don’t have to accept the deal. Some prosecutors offer them because their cases are not solid.
Your lawyer can analyze your case for you and determine if you should keep going. A jury may acquit you.
Handling a case on your own involves a lot of work. You have to read through a lot of papers, most of them technical in nature. You have to find witnesses and documents, which you must disclose to the prosecution.
You then have to handle the trial itself. You have to be eloquent, putting things in clear terms to the jury. You have to interview witnesses and object to questions that work against you.
On top of handling your case, you have to work and handle your social life. The enormity of it all will overwhelm you. Don’t carry forward while you are feeling stressed.
An aggravated assault attorney will take the pressure off of you. They will consult with you on what you want. Then they will follow through on gathering documents and interviewing witnesses.
You can always consult with your attorney. Pass them notes during hearings or call them up on the phone.
Let them do their job, but keep them informed about what you’re thinking. After all, your case is about you.
Any previous convictions make you look bad. It doesn’t matter if you were convicted of a misdemeanor decades ago.
Prosecutors can use your criminal record against you in a trial. They can suggest that an aggravated assault is reflective of your history.
Your lawyer can object to questions about your past. They can redirect the jury’s attention to the important matters at hand.
Your lawyer can also find character witnesses for you. They can tell the jury about your good works and behavior.
Many cases of aggravated assault occur with people who know each other. They may be family members or significant others.
The history between the defendant and victim often comes up at trial. Prosecutors point to arguments or threats of violence to corroborate the aggravated assault charge. It is hard for a jury to ignore bad blood between the two parties.
An attorney will find character witnesses for you. They will cross-examine the prosecution witnesses, showing your true character. They will remind the jury about the facts, avoiding the prosecution’s calls to emotion.
Being charged with aggravated assault is devastating. But an aggravated assault lawyer can help.
Call one if you’re struggling to understand the laws. Have an attorney by your side if you’re taken in for questioning or asked to appear in court.
Have an attorney look into a deal offer. Let them handle the substantial work of a trial. Your criminal history and past with the victim will be used against you, and your attorney can resolve those points.
Find someone who will fight for you. Christopher T. Gore is Houston’s leading aggravated assault attorney. Contact us today.