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.