Aggravated assault is considered a more serious offense than regular assault, and happens whenever a person uses threat, physical contact or extreme violence to cause bodily harm or injury to another. Some examples of things that fall into this category are:
- Threatening a spouse (domestic violence)
- Brandishing a gun or firearm during a physical attack
Requirements for Aggravated Assault Charges
According to the Texas Penal Code, in order to press charges, a district attorney must show that the victim sustained “serious bodily injury.” This does not necessarily mean injuries that would require hospitalization, as severe pain, bruising or emotional trauma would also qualify.
Bodily Harm Charges Carry Significant Punishments
This crime is considered a second-degree felony, and can result in a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, those accused of this crime could also face other sanctions including:
- Restitution to the victim
- Anger management counseling
- Loss of firearm privileges
- Inability to vote or hold public office
- Denial of employment in certain sectors
Heat of Passion Defense
The “heat of passion” defense is sometimes used in cases to mitigate the charges in Houston. It is available whenever certain words or acts were committed that consequently inflamed the accused. Acts committed in the heat of passion tend to be viewed differently than ones that are carefully planned, which means charges could be reduced as a result.
Houston Proof of Injury
Defense attorneys in Texas will also make the government prove that the alleged victim did indeed sustain injuries, and that those injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s actions. If the district attorney cannot meet this burden of proof, it will be difficult to convince the jury of a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.