Articles Posted in Assault

Prior convictions can have a detrimental impact during sentencing for a subsequent crime. For example, if a person who was previously convicted of a crime of violence is then convicted of another crime, he or she may face an enhanced sentenced due to the prior conviction. A federal appellate court recently analyzed whether an assault of a peace officer constituted a crime of violence so as to allow an enhanced sentence, in a case arising out of Texas. If you are charged with assault or a related crime it is in your best interest to speak with a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as you can to discuss your case.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the defendant, who gained entry into the country illegally, was serving a sentence of five months in jail for multiple charges. During his sentence, he reportedly became angry after he requested a toothbrush and kicked a correctional officer in the genitals. He was charged with assault on a peace officer, to which he plead guilty. He was sentenced to three years in prison and then was deported. He re-entered the country after which he was charged with and convicted of unlawful re-entry.

Reportedly, an enhanced sentence was recommended, in part due to his prior assault conviction, which the court classified as a crime of violence. The defendant objected to the classification of an assault on a peace officer as a crime of violence. Specifically, the defendant argued that under Texas law, assault can be committed recklessly and does not require force as an element. His objection was denied, and he was sentenced to 38 months in prison, after which he appealed.

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In Texas, the State must produce sufficient evidence of a crime to support a defendant’s conviction. If a defendant is convicted despite insufficient evidence, he or she may be able to have his or her conviction overturned. For some crimes, such as assault of a family member, a defendant can be convicted based solely on the victim’s testimony.

This was explained in a recent case in which a Texas appellate court upheld the defendant’s assault conviction, despite the fact that the only evidence of the assault was the victim’s testimony. If you are facing assault charges, you should meet with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to formulate a plan for your defense.

The Alleged Assault and Trial

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member. During the trial, the defendant’s wife testified that she and the defendant were in a car when they began arguing. At one point, the defendant threatened to hit his wife. The defendant then pulled over and struck his wife. He began driving again but pulled over a second time and pulled his wife out of the car and threw her to the ground and kicked and hit her. The defendant then left the scene and the wife called 911. During the 911 call, she reported that she and her husband were arguing and the defendant hit her in the head. The wife also testified that she felt pain due to her injuries.

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In Texas criminal courts, the state must advise the jury of the charges a defendant faces and the elements of any charge. If the charges submitted to the jury are improper, it can result in an unjust conviction or inappropriate sentence. In Walker v. Texas, the Court of Appeals of Texas held that instructing a jury on the issue of assault with a deadly weapon in a case where the defendant only used his hands during the assault was not an error, because hands could be used as deadly weapons. If you face assault charges, it is important to obtain an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to thoroughly explain all the charges and help you prepare a strong defense.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant and his alleged victim lived together for three years. They began arguing, after which the defendant allegedly grabbed the victim, threw her across the room, and placed his arm across her neck. The defendant only used his hands during the assault. The victim later testified that she wanted the defendant to stop hurting her but she was not fearful that he was going to kill her. The day after the assault, the victim met with police and sought treatment for her injuries. The police investigated the incident and ultimately charged the defendant with third-degree felony assault family violence. During the trial, the investigating officer testified that hands could be used as deadly weapons.

Allegedly, at the end of the trial, the jury was provided with instructions that included an issue regarding the defendant’s use of a deadly weapon. During deliberations, the jury stated it reached a unanimous decision on the assault charge but not on the deadly weapon issue. The state ultimately waived the deadly weapon issue and the jury convicted the defendant on the assault charge. The defendant appealed. On appeal, his conviction was affirmed.

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