While many people have a basic understanding of what actions constitute assault, such as intentionally causing harm to another person, they may not be as familiar with the term “deadly conduct.” In Texas, a person can be charged with deadly conduct under certain circumstances, and they may not know what this means or what actions to take. If you or someone you love has been charged with deadly conduct, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away to learn about your legal options.
How the Texas Penal Code Defines Deadly Conduct
Essentially, there are two types of deadly conduct. According to section 22.05 of the Texas penal code, a person commits deadly conduct if “he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.” An offense of this nature is considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $4,000 fine, or both. Alternatively, a person could also face a deadly conduct charge if he “knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of: (1) one or more individuals; or (2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.” Under this definition of deadly conduct, the offense would be considered a third-degree penalty, carrying a prison sentence of between two to ten years, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Misdemeanor Deadly Conduct
The first definition of deadly conduct includes several key—but somewhat vague—terms: “recklessly engages in conduct” and “imminent danger of serious bodily injury.” According to Texas state penal code 6.03, reckless conduct occurs when a person “is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur.” Prosecutors will attempt to show that you were acting recklessly by considering whether you deviated substantially from what any reasonable person would do under similar circumstances. The term “imminent danger of serious bodily injury” hinges on the perspective of the alleged victim; the prosecution will strive to establish that the victim felt in immediate, serious danger. Your criminal defense attorney will work to employ an effective strategy to push back against these interpretations.
Felony Deadly Conduct
The second type of deadly conduct relies on the definition of “knowingly.” Prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant understood that their behavior could lead to a specific result. For instance, if you fire a gun in the direction of someone’s home, whether or not it was occupied, prosecutors will try to demonstrate that you knew that taking such an action could inflict harm or damage to someone else. Prosecutors must show that you fired a gun in the direction of a person, property, or vehicle, and that you were aware of the potential outcomes. There are many tactics that prosecutors may attempt to use in order to paint you as a knowingly or recklessly dangerous person, so it’s essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away to ensure your rights are protected.
For trusted and aggressive legal representation regarding a deadly conduct or assault charge in Pearland or the Houston area, contact the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free initial consultation.