What Is Considered Deadly Conduct in Texas?
Engaging in the unsafe, menacing, or irresponsible handling of weapons constitutes a criminal act. In Texas, the irresponsible utilization of a weapon is referred to as “deadly conduct” and can result in charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the specific circumstances.
Engaging in the hazardous, menacing, or careless handling of weapons is considered a criminal offense. In the state of Texas, this type of reckless weapon usage is legally referred to as “deadly conduct” and can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the particular circumstances. While Texas is the sole state with a dedicated law for deadly conduct, other states have enacted similar legislation to address comparable behaviors. These laws may be known by different names, such as unlawful discharge of a weapon, negligent discharge, or similar terms.
Types of Deadly Conduct
Danger of Harm & Intent
Whenever a weapon is aimed at another person or discharged without considering where the bullet might travel, there is a clear and present danger of causing harm. If an individual is aware that their actions with a firearm or any other weapon have the potential to result in bodily injury or death to someone else, they can be apprehended and charged with deadly conduct.
However, the concept of intent plays a role, albeit not in the expected manner. To be convicted of deadly conduct, the required intent is simply the intention to carry out the act that would be classified as deadly conduct, regardless of whether the person intended to cause harm or not. In other words, if someone merely exhibits a weapon to intimidate another person, their intention to intimidate becomes the focal point, rather than whether they intended to physically harm the person with the weapon.
Serious Bodily Injury
For a charge of deadly conduct, it is necessary that someone’s actions pose a risk of causing serious bodily injury to another individual. The term “serious bodily injury” encompasses the substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or a prolonged loss or impairment of a body part, such as a limb or organ.
The occurrence of actual serious bodily injury may not necessarily be relevant in a deadly conduct charge, although any real injuries or fatalities could lead to additional charges. The sole requirement for a deadly conduct charge is that someone’s actions had the potential to cause such significant harm.
Penalties for Deadly Conduct
Deadly conduct can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge, with misdemeanors being less severe than felonies. Both types of charges can lead to consequences such as imprisonment, fines, or other penalties. The penalties for a deadly conduct conviction in Texas are comparable to those imposed in other states for similar offenses, although there are significant variations depending on the state and the specific circumstances of the case.
Imprisonment can be a consequence of deadly conduct convictions:
- For a Class A misdemeanor charge, a maximum jail term of up to one year may be imposed.
- If charged as a Third Degree felony, the potential prison sentence ranges from a minimum of two years to a maximum of ten years. In the case of a felony conviction, the judge cannot impose a prison term of less than two years.
Fines are another potential penalty:
- Misdemeanor convictions for deadly conduct in Texas may result in fines not exceeding $4,000.
- Felony convictions can lead to fines of up to $10,000. Fines can be imposed independently or in conjunction with a prison or jail sentence.
Probation is also a possible outcome:
- Courts have the discretion to sentence individuals convicted of deadly conduct to probation. Probation terms generally last at least 12 months or longer, during which the probationer must adhere to specific conditions mandated by the court. These conditions often include regular reporting to a probation officer, consent to searches of the probationer’s home or vehicle upon request, prohibition from possessing firearms, and refraining from committing additional crimes.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you are facing deadly conduct criminal charges. It is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer can provide you with essential legal advice, guidance, and representation throughout the legal process.
As an experienced criminal defense attorney we can review the facts of your criminal case, investigate the charges against you. And develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. As well as negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and advocate for your rights and interests in court.
In addition, we can provide you with information about the potential indecent exposure consequences of a conviction. Including the possibility of jail time, fines, and other penalties. And work to minimize the impact of the charges on your life and future.
Overall, the criminal law justice system can be complex and scary. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can significantly improve the outcome of your case. Your lawyer can help you comprehend the legal process, outline your choices, and provide advice and support. They can also help you review any evidence gathered against you, prepare witness statements, and investigate any mitigating circumstances.