What is Aggravated Assault in Texas?

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal


(972) 369-0577

Aggravated assault can happen one of two ways.  For either way, an assault must be committed pursuant to Tex.Pen.C 22.01 AND one of the following two circumstances must have occurred:

1.  the person causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; or

2.  uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

“Serious bodily injury” is defined by Texas Penal Code Section 1.07(46) as, “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.”

Aggravated assault is a 2nd degree felony and carries with it a prison term of between 2 and 20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Aggravated assault can be a 1st degree felony where the accused utilizes a deadly weapon during the assault and causes bodily injury to a member of their family or someone they are in a dating relationship with.

Though there are obviously many factual variations of how an aggravated assault can take place, they usually occur when a normal assault under Penal Code 22.01(1) causes injury above and beyond ordinary bodily injury (hence rising to the level of serious bodily injury), or (2) is an instance where someone is threatened with immanent bodily injury (22.01(2)) — and a deadly weapon is used or exhibited when that person was threatened.

Another big issue in aggravated assault cases is often what constitutes a “deadly weapon.”  Under Texas Penal Code Section 1.07(17) as (A) a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or (B) anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

The first definition is somewhat clear as to what constitutes a deadly weapon, but the entire issue of an aggravated assault case often turns on the definition of subsection (B) above.  For example, a rock, candlestick, or any other object you can think of could be argued to qualify as a deadly weapon based on how it was being used at the time of the alleged assault.

In either event, an aggravated assault is an extremely serious charge and should never be taken lightly.  You should seek skilled legal representation.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any specific case you should consult with an attorney directly.

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