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What is Aggravated Assault?

Assault with a weapon gun is aggravated assault

The attempt to cause serious physical harm to a person with disregard for their life is described as aggravated assault. Not to be confused with plain assault, an aggravated assault occurs when a weapon is used, the degree of injury caused is high, or there was aggressive intent from the perpetrator.

Different states classify aggravated assault in different ways. In Texas, a crime is considered aggravated assault if they perpetrator uses weapons, or it results in serious injury. If the assault is of someone who you are in a domestic partnership with, a public official, an emergency worker, or a witness or informant to a crime, it gets upgraded to a first-degree felony.

Degrees of Aggravated Assault

While the exact terms differ state by state, most states agree that first degree aggravated assault describes a violent act that is committed after premeditated planning. The act was an intentional attempt to cause serious injury to the person.

Second degree aggravated assault describes when a violent act is committed without any planning or premeditation. A lesser charge can be changed to a second degree aggravated assault charge if the victim has a protected status such as a police officer.

Third and fourth-degree aggravated assault is when the assailant attempts to significantly harm the victim, like in a fistfight or physical altercation. Even though these are classified as lesser offenses, they still carry severe penalties.

Some assaults may begin as simple assaults, but their status changes to aggravated assault based on the status of the victim to the intent of the perpetrator. Many states have strict laws against assaults on firefighters, police officers, or teachers who are harmed while performing their duty. Additionally, some hate crimes or crimes against members of certain groups of people can be considered aggravated assault if the assailant intended to target that particular group.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault

The penalties for assault charges differ depending on the assault and degree to which injuries occurred. Depending on the state where the assault happened, it could be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the circumstances.

In Texas, many aggravated assaults are classified as first-degree felonies. If you’re found guilty of committing a first-degree felony in Texas, you could face a life sentence in prison plus a fine as determined by the judge, which could be up to $10,000. Some less severe assaults that may fall under misdemeanor classification can result in fines of $500-$1000 as well as a prison sentence.

The penalties for aggravated can differ significantly based on your state, the circumstances of the crime, and the victim. It’s tempting to want to research online what might happen with your case. Don’t rely on information from the internet to understand the complexities of your case.

If you’ve been arrested for aggravated assault in Houston, contact Christopher T. Gore. Find out how he and his qualified team can help answer your questions and represent your best interests after an assault charge.

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What You Need To Know About Assault and Battery Laws in Texas

Bar Fights can lead to Aggravated Assault and Battery in Texas

In Texas, assault and battery charges are treated the same under the law. This might seem confusing since other states view them as two separate crimes. However, in Texas, they are treated the same way because the two offenses are very similar, and both result in bodily injury.

Here is a breakdown of how Texas handles assault and battery cases, which are collectively referred to as “assault.”

Assault Definitions, Classifications, and Penalties

A person can be charged with assault if they knowingly and recklessly cause bodily injury to another person, threatens harm, or causes physical contact that they know is unwelcome or offensive.

There are six classifications of assault that each come with their own penalties.

Class C misdemeanors occur when a person threatens someone with, or causes, physical contact with a person in an offensive way. In a Class 3 misdemeanor, there can be no other aggravating factors involved. The penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500.

A Class B misdemeanor is when a person commits an assault against someone during a sporting event, while participating in the game, as a retaliation. If found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, you could face up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2000.

Class A misdemeanors describe when someone causes bodily injury to another, and no other factors are present. This is also the Classification for causing harm to an elderly person. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

A third-degree felony is when someone knowingly assaults a public servant in which they are on official duty, a family member or household member, government employee, or emergency personnel. If found guilty of a third-degree felony, you could face up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

A second-degree felony involves assault committed against a family member, spouse, or partner. It can also pertain to a defendant who has been previously convicted of a similar offense. A second-degree felony conviction comes with 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The most severe felony is a first-degree felony, which can also be known as an aggravated assault. A crime is considered aggravated assault if there are weapons used in the assault and/or it results in serious injury. A crime is considered a first-degree felony if it is considered aggravated assault of someone who you are in a domestic partnership with, a public official, an emergency worker, or a witness or informant to a crime.

If you’re found guilty of a first-degree felony, you face a potential life sentence in prison plus a fine as determined by the judge.

The best way to fully understand the details of your conviction is to talk to a qualified lawyer who can answer specific questions about your case.

If you’ve been convicted of assault in Houston, call the offices of Christopher T. Gore for more information on how he can help.

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What To Know If You’re Charged With A Family Violence Crime in Texas

Charged with Family Violence

In Texas, a Family Violence misdemeanor is one of the more severe crimes you can be charged with. Aside from the illegal nature of the crime, they can cause physical and emotional damage to everyone involved. Texas has a unique way of handling crimes related to family violence. 

Texas laws on family violence

Family violence is considered any assault against a relative or member of your household and is classified as a misdemeanor. It includes any violence that results in bodily injury or physical harm, including physical and sexual assault. Texas laws also classify situations that place family members in fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury under the category of family violence.  This applies to all domestic cases except for in instances of self-defense. To be considered assault, the crime must have intent, meaning that the offender knowingly and recklessly caused bodily injury to a person. 

Additionally, Texas law has specific mandates that require offenders to stay away from their home and children following an assault. If you are charged, it is incredibly unwise to violate that protective order, even if you are told by the family member that they will drop the charges. In Texas, victims of assault cannot decide to drop charges or dismiss the case once the police are involved. Only the district attorney has the power to dismiss your case. That is why it is essential to have a defense attorney on your side to help you manage your situation. 

What to expect if charged with a family violence crime

When a criminal complaint is made after an assault, the system moves relatively quickly. Once the victim makes a statement to law enforcement, the charges are sent to a prosecutor for review. This can result in a warrant to arrest the defendant. 

Once the court date is set, you will have to appear in front of a judge while they explain the charges and set initial bail. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may still be detained after bail is posted. If there is enough evidence to go to trial, you will have to attend a pretrial hearing. Then you will need to work with your attorney to either come to an agreement on a plea or face going to trial. 

First-time offenders, if convicted with assault against a family or household member, can be subject to up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000. This conviction can also come with lifelong implications and affect your ability to own a weapon, employment eligibility, child visitation, and immigration status. 

If you’re charged with a family violence crime, consult an attorney before making any decisions. Don’t agree to a plea without speaking to an attorney first. Don’t rely on the internet to learn about the possible implications of your case. Every situation is different, and your best course of action is to hire a qualified Houston criminal defense attorney. If you are facing a family violence charge in Houston, call Christoper T. Gore to learn more about how he can represent your case and help you move forward. 

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What to do if you’re charged with assault in Texas

Handcuffed Arrested on Assault Charges

Being accused of assault in Texas is a serious crime that can come with many severe consequences. When you’re arrested on assault charges, it’s essential to know what to expect and how the legal process will play out. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for what’s to come. 

What to know prior to appearing before a judge 

If you’ve been arrested, you’ll likely need to appear before a judge or magistrate within 48 hours of your arrest. They will inform you of your rights, including your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. Ideally, you should obtain a lawyer before this meeting so that they can speak on your behalf and explain the proceedings to you. 

During this time it’s essential not to make any statements or say anything that would later be used against you or incriminate you further. At this meeting, your court date will be set by the judge. 

What to expect at arraignment

Your arraignment is the first time you’ll appear in court after the official charges have been filed. At this point, you should have determined with your attorney whether or not you will plead guilty, or if your attorney will negotiate a plea agreement on your behalf. If you and your attorney are unable to negotiate a plea, then the case will continue to trial. 

Preparing for the trial 

The way your trial is organized will vary based on the level of your assault charge. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, you will be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Instances of misdemeanor assault include offensive physical contact, assault on a sporting participant, or causing bodily injury to someone. Some examples of felony assault charges include assault on a family member, assault while intoxicated and aggravated assault with a weapon. 

Misdemeanor cases usually include a jury of 6 people, while felony cases have twelve jurors. It’s the prosecution’s job to try and prove to the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

If the jury finds you guilty and you are convicted of assault, your sentencing depends on the specific charges and the severity of the assault. If found guilty of a misdemeanor assault, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If you’re convicted of a felony assault, the punishment can range from five to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. 

Navigating your charges, trial, and possible defense requires help from an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Houston laws and has handled similar cases. It’s important not to rely on the internet or other unreliable advice to know what to do during this time. Using an attorney will give you a better chance of having the charges dropped or reduced. 

If you’ve been arrested on assault charges, contact experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you in court.