The types of behavior that are included in assault crimes range from class C misdemeanors involving such things as threatening another person with imminent bodily injury, or causing physical contact with another person that is offensive or provocative, all the way up to serious felonies.
Aggravated Assault is a criminal offense that can occur in a variety of different ways. The most common Aggravated Assault charges happen when a person “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” threatens or causes “bodily injury” to someone else while using or exhibiting a “deadly weapon”. Aggravated Assault may also occur when someone causes “serious bodily injury” to another person, regardless of whether or not a weapon was used.
In the context of Aggravated Assault, “Bodily injury” simply means that a person suffered any “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of their physical condition.” “Serious bodily injury” occurs when a person suffers a bodily injury that “creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
Deadly weapons can include any number of objects. Some items, such as a firearm, are deadly weapons as a matter of law. Other items such as a club, a nightstick, a mace or a tomahawk, while not a deadly weapons as a matter of law, can be a deadly weapon if they have been specifically designed, made or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death.
Weapons offenses generally arise as a result of “who” has such a weapon or “where” the weapon is found. A common example of a case generated by “who” has the weapon is the offense of Felon in Possession. It is an offense for a person who has been convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. This offense can be prosecuted at both the State and Federal level. An example of a case generated by “where” a weapon is found occurs when it is found in a prohibited place, such as a school, or an airport, or certain places where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed.
When a person recklessly engages in conduct that places another person in imminent danger or serious bodily injury or discharges a firearm in the direction of another person they may be guilty of Deadly Conduct. Depending on the specific facts of the allegation, the charge may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, a person's actions may be justified by self-defense or the defense of someone else. In many cases, law enforcement fails to fully investigate all of the circumstances surrounding the alleged criminal conduct. Having an experienced attorney who knows the law and knows what to look for is important in preserving your rights.
When a person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person they will be charged with murder. Likewise, if a person commits a felony and while in the course of committing that felony commits an act that is clearly dangerous to human life and causes the death of another person a person will be charged with murder. In some cases, a person's actions may be justified by laws related to self-defense or the defense of a third person.
Unfortunately, wrongful convictions are a reality and our justice system has seen numerous people convicted of crimes they did not commit. That's why it's so important to have an experienced legal team on your side to ensure that justice is done.