After an incident involving a weapon, you may be facing charges and wondering, what is the offense of deadly conduct in Texas? When you are accused of using a weapon in a reckless manner, law enforcement may charge you with deadly conduct.
A charge of deadly conduct in Texas could result in either a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted, this is a charge that could leave you facing significant issues in the future. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense may help you avoid the most serious consequences.
Why Am I Being Charged with Deadly Conduct?
Texas state law defines deadly conduct as the process of using a weapon and putting someone else’s life at risk of death or serious injury. TX Penal Code Title 5 Chapter 22 describes all offenses involving assault, including deadly conduct.
When law enforcement officers investigating an incident believe that your actions with a weapon placed someone else in jeopardy, they may charge you with deadly conduct.
Defining Recklessness in Deadly Conduct
As part of the deadly conduct charge, law enforcement must be able to prove that the accused party acted in a reckless manner. To meet the definition of recklessness, the accused party understands the dangerous nature of his or her actions. Even so, he or she chooses to perform them anyway.
In other words, the accused party chooses to disregard the risk associated with the behavior, unlike what an ordinary person would do in the same circumstances.
What Makes Up a Reckless Use of a Weapon Charge?
The majority of states have a similar charge to Texas’ deadly conduct charge, but those states refer to it as reckless use of a weapon.
In Texas, this charge involves the potential of causing serious injury. The state’s definition of serious injury is found in TX Penal Code Title 1 Chapter 1 and may include a risk of:
- Disfigurement of the body
- Loss of function of a body organ
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of mental faculty
Examples of Deadly Conduct in Texas
Frequently, a charge of deadly conduct involves the discharge of a gun. If the accused party shoots a weapon toward people, a building, or a vehicle, this could result in a charge of deadly conduct.
Law enforcement first has to show that the accused party knowingly discharged the weapon. If the accused party disregarded whether a building or vehicle had people in it and the risk to those people, this will result in a deadly conduct charge.
Injuries Are Not Necessary for a Deadly Conduct Charge
A deadly conduct charge does not have to involve the accused party causing an injury to someone else. This charge only requires that the possibility of death or serious injury could occur because of their reckless actions.
For example, if someone points a gun at another person, even if he or she did not believe the gun had ammunition in it, this action could still result in a deadly conduct charge. If the gun did have ammunition when the accused party aimed it, it could have gone off, so the act of pointing the gun is reckless.
Penalties for a Deadly Conduct Conviction
Should you be convicted on a deadly conduct charge, you could be facing some significant penalties. These may include jail time, fines, probation, and other penalties.
A felony charge is more serious than a misdemeanor charge, resulting in the possibility of tougher penalties. Typically, if the accused party used a firearm during the incident that led to the deadly conduct charge, this can lead to a felony charge.
Some of the potential penalties in a felony deadly conduct charge in Texas can include:
- A prison term of up to 10 years
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Probation of at least 12 months
Prosecutors often choose to file misdemeanor charges in a deadly conduct situation when it involves a weapon other than a firearm. However, the decision on a felony or misdemeanor charge will ultimately depend on the prosecutor’s interpretation of the accused party’s intent.
Some of the potential penalties in a misdemeanor deadly conduct charge in Texas can include:
- A jail term of up to one year
- A fine of up to $4,000
- Probation of at least 12 months
Fighting a Charge of Deadly Conduct
When you hire our criminal defense team to aid in your case, we will craft a defense strategy to help you try to avoid the most serious penalties. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may argue that the situation was a misunderstanding and that you do not deserve harsh penalties.
We may also try to negotiate with the prosecutor to seek a reduced charge in exchange for a guilty plea to that charge.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg are Ready to Help You
Do not sit back and hope for the best when facing a charge of deadly conduct in Texas. You should prepare to defend yourself against this extremely serious charge.
The criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will work tirelessly to help you in this situation. Call us at (214) 696-9253 today for a free consultation to discuss your case.