What’s so aggravated about assault anyways? (Part Four)

punch2.jpgThe first jury trial I won on aggravated assault was trickier because allegation was threatening injury and displaying a deadly weapon. My client was alleged to have chased his ex-girlfriend/child’s mother’s vehicle up and down the highway with his vehicle, and threatened to ram her (he did bump her a little). Fortunately, the jury found him guilty of the lesser included offense of deadly conduct. This can be a reasonable out in many aggravated assault cases, which in reality are deadly conduct cases.

If you are trying an aggravated assault case, always ask for deadly conduct as a lesser included, particularly if the language of the aggravated assault allegation allows deadly conduct to fit more neatly as a lesser included. The court found it to be one in my first jury trial where it was alleged to be an intentional threat with a deadly weapon. Sec. 22.05 of the Penal Code defines deadly conduct as “(a) A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury…” Deadly conduct has been held to be a lesser included offense to aggravated assault on multiple occasions. Bell v. State, 693 S.W.2d 434, 437 (Tex.Crim.App.1985). Guzman v. State, 188 S.W.3d 185, 190-91 (Tex.Crim.App.2006). The end result was my client walked away with a misdemeanor conviction and a fine only, when he was facing two to twenty years in the penitentiary on the indictment.

If all this sounds complicated, it is because it can be. The laws and facts of every assault case, including the interpersonal dynamics between the witnesses, are normally convoluted. This is why you should be very careful to hire an experienced criminal trial lawyer for any aggravated case. Really, for any criminal case.

If you or someone you know is being investigated or prosecuted for a crime, call Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Micah Belden at 903-744-4252.