Assault with a deadly weapon is an extremely serious criminal charge that can cause individuals to spend years behind bars. As a felony offense, this crime has caused countless alleged offenders to end up spending years in prison while also paying expensive fines. It also carries many collateral consequences such as loss of employment, expulsion from higher learning institutions, and no longer being able to vote.
Upon being charged with this crime, individuals must do their part by making sure they have properly aligned themselves with a criminal defense attorney. Prosecutors have the burden of proof in this instance, and they must be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have committed assault with a deadly weapon.
Assault with a deadly weapon is a charge that can completely derail your life, but it is important to remember that a quality criminal defense lawyer can be the difference between a charge dismissal and a multiyear prison sentence. Not every charge has to result in a conviction, which means that it may be possible for you to retain your freedom, even though you are facing felony charges.
Serving Collin, Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and countless other counties and communities across Texas, the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy provides expert legal counsel to those in need of a criminal defense attorney. With years of experience representing Texans in a court of law, we are well equipped to assist our clients in defending their rights, freedom, and honor against prosecuting attorneys. We fight tirelessly for each and every citizen we represent, and we are confident in our abilities to help your case reach a favorable outcome. For more information about how we can help, contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at 469-304-3422 for a free consultation with a member of our team.
● Definition of Assault with a Deadly Weapon
● Examples of Deadly Weapons
● Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon
● Defenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon
● Assault with a Deadly Weapon Resources
Texas Penal Code Section 22.021 provides a definition of assault with a deadly weapon in Texas. According to this statute, assault with a deadly weapon, also known as aggravated assault, takes place when an individual is guilty of using a deadly weapon while committing assault. “Assault” is defined as an act involving intentional causation of bodily injury, intentional causation of offensive physical contact, or the threat of bodily injury or offensive physical contact.
Texas Penal Code § 46.01 provides a list of definitions for the various items and objects that are considered to be deadly weapons in the state of Texas.
● Armor-Piercing Ammunition - Any sort of firearm ammunition used for pistols and handguns that has been designed to penetrate the metal or body armor of another individual
● Chemical Dispensing Device - Any device that has been created, designed, or adapted for the purpose of dispensing a chemical substance that is capable of causing an adverse psychological or physiological effect on another person. (Note: commercially sold [small] chemical dispensers are exempt)
● Club - An item or instrument that has been specifically created or designed for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily (or death) upon another person by striking the individual with the object.
● Explosive Weapon - Any explosive device, bomb, grenade, rocket, or landmine that has been created specifically for inflicting serious bodily injury, death, property damage, or for the purpose of creating a large, loud noise in an attempt to cause a public terror amongst civilians.
● Firearm - Any device that has been created, designed, or adapted to eject a projectile through a barrel by using energy that has been generated by either an explosion or burning substance taking place within the device.
● Firearm Silencer - Any device that has been created, designed, or adapted to dampen or lower the sound emitted from a firearm.
● Handgun - Any firearm that has been created, designed, or adapted to be able to be discharged or fired with one hand.
● Hoax Bomb - Any device that appears to be a genuinely explosive or incendiary device, while also causing a reaction from a public organization that has been specifically designed to deal with bomb-or explosive-related public emergencies.
● Knife - A bladed hand instrument that has the capacity of inflicting serious bodily injury or death to an individual by cutting or stabbing them.
● Knuckles - Any device that has been created with finger rings, guards, or hard substances that have been designed for causing serious bodily injury or death to another person by striking them with an enclosed fist while the knuckles are equipped.
● Location-Restricted Knife - Any knife that has a blade that is longer than 5.5 inches.
● Machine Gun - Any firearm that has the capacity to shoot more than two shots automatically while using only one trigger motion, and without having to be manually reloaded.
● Short-Barrel Firearm - Short-barrel firearms include: rifles carrying a barrel length of 16 inches or less, shotguns carrying a barrel length of 18 inches or less, and altered shotguns/rifles carrying an overall length that is less than 26 inches.
● Tire Deflation Device - Any device that causes a wheeled vehicle to experience tire deflation upon driving over said device. Popular examples include caltrops and spike strips.
● Zip Gun - Any device that has not been created by altering a firearm, and has the ability to expel a projectile through a barrel using energy generation or substance burning that takes place within the weapon.
Criminal charges for assault with a deadly weapon are extremely serious. Typically, the minimum classification for this type of crime is a second-degree felony charge that results in the possibility of a maximum jail sentence of 20 years, in addition to a maximum fine of $10,000. The charges can quickly increase or be upgraded to first-degree felony charges if they are found committing assault with a deadly weapon against a security officer, public servant, or family member. First-degree felony assault with a deadly weapon also takes place if an individual is found assaulting a witness in a criminal case in an attempt to retaliate. If convicted of first-degree felony assault with a deadly weapon, individuals can expect to spend 5-99 years in prison in addition to paying court-ordered fines that can be as expensive as $10,000.
In certain cases, there may be defenses to assault with a deadly weapon that can be used while disputing the charges.
For starters, self-defense can be used as a defense to assault with a deadly weapon. The state of Texas allows individuals to use force if they are under immediate serious threat of serious injury, bodily harm, or death. For example, if an individual has been attacked and uses a club to fend off their attacker, they may be able to use this as a defense to their criminal charges.
Lack of intent is another popular defense to assault with a deadly weapon charges. Upon being charged with this crime, prosecuting attorneys must be able to prove that you have every intention of committing assault and hurting another person. If your criminal defense attorney is able to prove that you did not intentionally assault another individual, you may be able to reduce or dismiss your criminal charges.
Lastly, lack of a deadly weapon is another defense that many defendants find themselves using when being charged with assault with a deadly weapon. If you and your attorney are able to prove that there was no deadly weapon that was present or used during the alleged assault, you may be able to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Texas Penal Code Chapter 46: Weapons - This link takes you to the official website containing The Texas Penal Code, where you can find more about Texas’s laws pertaining to weapons, assault, and assault with a deadly weapon. You can also learn more about the penalties and consequences of being convicted of an assault or weapons charge.
Penal Code Offenses by Punishment Range - This link takes you to the official website of the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton. Here, you can learn more about the criminal penalties for crimes that take place and are charged within the Texas borders.
Assault with a deadly weapon is a violent crime that has the potential to completely derail your life. Upon being convicted of this crime, you may be forced to give up your employment, college eligibility, and rights to vote. For these reasons and more, it is important to make sure you have armed yourself with a quality criminal defense lawyer who can help you reduce or even dismiss your charges.
Serving McKinney, Plano, Frisco, Dallas, Denton, and many other surrounding areas of Collin County, the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy provide Texans with elite criminal defense representation. Our team of legal experts is led by experienced criminal defense attorney Richard C. McConathy. And with years of experience that includes numerous criminal case wins, we are confident in our ability to help you with your legal matters. For more information on how we can be of assistance, contact us today at 469-304-3422 for a free consultation.