Aggravated assault is a step above a simple assault. Note that Texas does not look at “assault and battery” the same way that other states do, where bodily harm is battery and a mere threat of such harm is assault. In Texas, both get looked at together as assault, and then aggravated assault is a level beyond that.
So, how do you get charged with aggravated assault? These charges can result if:
- You use a weapon while assaulting another person
- That person suffers from serious injuries as a result
Both of these qualifications raise some questions. For instance, what counts as a weapon? It’s clear that assaulting someone with a gun or a knife could lead to aggravated assault charges, but what if you were carrying your car keys when the fight started and you struck the person with your keys? Are they now a weapon? Is any object used to inflict harm, beyond one’s own hands, a weapon? Police may claim you used a weapon when you do not believe you did anything of the sort.
The gray area with “serious injuries” is that the same exact action can lead to different charges. Say you strike someone exactly one time. It knocks them down. If they land in the grass, they may get up with a black eye and never even call the police. If they land on the sidewalk, they could strike their head and suffer a brain injury. You could face very different charges, even though you did the same thing in both cases.
If you do get charged with assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, you must understand your legal defense options. With your future on the line, the smart move is to speak to an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.