If you have been charged with deadly conduct in the state of Texas, you face serious consequences. Deadly conduct may result in either misdemeanor or felony charges. To ensure your legal rights are protected, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your attorney will not only make sure that your constitutional rights have not been violated during your case, but also that the state has proven the elements of the crime you are charged with.
What is deadly conduct?
According to the laws of Texas, deadly conduct includes:
- Acting in a reckless manner that puts others in fear of being seriously injured; or
- Knowingly discharging a firearm at or toward another individual or in a building or vehicle.
It is presumed that the offender’s actions were reckless if the offender pointed a firearm at someone else. It does not matter if the offender did not believe the gun was loaded—the presumption still stands.
Acting in a reckless manner that puts others in fear of being seriously injured covers a wide range of actions. For example, if you are driving a vehicle and you playfully swerve at your friend who is standing on the sidewalk, you may be found guilty of deadly conduct. Your friend may certainly feel that he was at risk of being seriously injured. If not, deadly conduct charges may be reduced or dismissed. Serious bodily injury includes loss of limbs, permanent disfigurement, and other serious injuries.
Penalties for deadly conduct
Acting recklessly and putting another in fear of imminent bodily harm is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the offender faces up to a year in jail. In addition, a fine of up to $4,000 may be ordered.
Discharging a firearm in the presence of others or in a vehicle or building is a third degree felony. Those convicted of third degree felonies face between 2 and 10 years in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be ordered.
How can an attorney help?
Criminal defense attorneys are trained to handle all types of criminal claims, including both misdemeanors and felonies.
Your criminal defense attorney will carefully study the facts of your case to make sure your constitutional rights were not violated before, during, or after your arrest. For example, were you informed of your Miranda rights? Did the officer explain that you had the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney? If not, your charges may be reduced or dismissed.
Your attorney is also able to make statements and take other action on your behalf as soon as he is hired. For example, your attorney will communicate with law enforcement officers and prosecutors. If you attempted to communicate with these individuals, you may unknowingly make statements that may be used against you in court. You may unintentionally weaken your case.
Criminal defense attorneys also make sure that sufficient evidence of the crime has been presented. The state must prove each element of a crime. If the state cannot prove that the accused actually committed the crime, the charges may not stand.
Criminal defense attorneys also raise any available defenses in a criminal claim and ensure that the proper evidence to support these defenses has been submitted.
Have you been arrested for deadly conduct?
If you have been arrested for deadly conduct, contact the Hampton Eppes Law Group to discuss your legal options. Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor with unique insight into the Texas criminal justice system. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.