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Assault is taken seriously in Lubbock and charged accordingly, based on the specific degrees they are placed under and any aggravating factors of the assault. First-degree assault will be generally charged as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. For example, if the accused has already been to the penitentiary, that would be an enhancement or assaults on a certain class of protected people, such as law enforcement officers. An assault on a police officer, especially if it is aggravated, enhances it from the second degree to a first degree. This includes any public servant such as police officers, firefighters and even off-duty police officers working security.
If you are facing aggravated assault, you will need the help of a Lubbock first-degree assault lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled assault attorney will be able to help you build a defense to your case.
Factors of Aggravated Assault
The statute is widely defined but if a person is a government official, that does not automatically put them in that protected category of aggravated assault. It is typically defined as some sort of public servant, such as a police officer, that would elevate the charge. For example, an assault on a TSA agent or Internal Revenue Service Agent while conducting an investigation would be classified as a public servant in those capacities. A congressman, however, would not be considered a public servant.
The other area of a first-degree assault when dealing with defined classes, such as assault on a public servant, is the elderly class. If a person is over the age of 65 and that person was abused, especially if it’s an aggravated assault, then it becomes not a second degree but is enhanced to a first degree.
Serious Bodily Injury
Assault is classified as second-degree if a person has a deadly weapon. However, if a person has a prior felony conviction and that person has done jail time, then that could enhance it to a first-degree charge.
A person gets charged with an aggravated assault that has an element of serious bodily injury, even without a weapon involved but with the alleged victim being hurt. Under Texas statute as defined by a serious bodily injury, that is generally going to be charged as a second-degree assault. However, if a person has a prior felony and been in the jail before, then that would enhance the assault to a first-degree act even though a weapon was not used, requiring the assistance of a Lubbock first-degree assault attorney who can help find mitigating defenses to someone’s circumstances.
The range of punishment in Texas for a first-degree case is a minimum of five years in the penitentiary up to 99 years or life in the penitentiary and up to a $10,000 fine. An important long-term consequence of a first-degree assault charge in Lubbock is that person would be a felony conviction for rest of their life, if convicted, they would have a felony on their record. A lot of things are eliminated with a felony such as certain jobs, the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury. If a person is not a legal citizen but in the country on permanent legal residents visa and is convicted of assault, that person could be denied of citizenship and deported.
These first-degree assault penalties may result in a probationary period. If certain facts are met and if the client is eligible then even a first-degree assault penalty could result in probation, but it is determinate on how a case unfolds with the help of a first-degree assault lawyer in Lubbock.
Building a Defense
There are several defenses that can be built for an assault charge in Lubbock. First, someone’s first-degree assault attorney in Lubbock must determine if the assault actually happened. Just because a person makes an allegation, does not mean the event actually happened, as it might have been falsely alleged.
Another defense is determining if the alleged assault was actually self-defense. The person arrested may have been defending themselves or defending a third party. In defending a third party or defending property, a person can use reasonable force in defending oneself, another, or property. Another defense is mutual combat. For example, both parties are angry and engage in a physical altercation. Many times, the person with the fewest injuries is the one who ultimately gets arrested even though both parties were mutually engaging in the altercation.
Working with a Lawyer
One of the main reasons to work with a Lubbock first-degree assault lawyer is because the liability is so high. If a person is convicted and does not get probation, the minimum time in jail is five years, up to life. If there is a deadly weapon involved and the jury convicts somebody and then makes a finding or the judge makes the finding of a deadly weapon, it is not only doing the prison time but under Texas law currently, if there is a deadly weapon, the client has to do the prison time at least one half of it day per day. For example, a person pleads guilty to an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, gets penitentiary time and gets 10 years in jail. Before they are even eligible for parole, they will have to do five days, day per day. In order to find mitigating factors and build a defense, a skilled attorney’s help is necessary.