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What is Aggravated Assault in Plano, Texas?

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is a particularly severe and harsh form of assault in Plano, Texas. In general, according to Texas Penal Code 22.01, a person commits assault if they intentionally, deliberately, or recklessly:

  • Cause bodily injury to another
  • Threaten another person with serious bodily harm 
  • Make provocative and offensive physical contact with another person.

Thus, aggravated assault occurs when the perpetrator causes substantial bodily injury to another person and employs or exhibits a dangerous weapon while carrying out the assault. In this case, bodily injury is generally defined as physical discomfort or any impairment of a person's physical state, according to Texas Penal Code 1.07(8). Serious bodily injury is a physical injury that causes a significant temporary or permanent disfigurement/impairment of the function of any bodily part. It may also result in a substantial risk of death or actual death of the victim.

Aggravated assault charges are typically penalized as either 2nd-degree felonies. However, the charge may become a 1st-degree felony if:

  • A public servant commits the offense 
  • The crime is committed against a public worker when the individual is lawfully performing an official duty.
  • The crime is committed in retribution for the execution of official duty, etc.

A 2nd-degree felony carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. In contrast, a 1st-degree felony is a more serious offense that carries a sentence of about 99 years or life in prison, as well as a fine of up to $50,000.

Because aggravated assault involves the use or threat of force, it is classified as a violent crime in Plano and other parts of the country. According to the 2019 UCR crime report on Texas, law enforcement agencies in Plano recorded 194 cases of aggravated assault.

What is Sexual Assault in Plano, Texas?

In Plano, sexual assault is usually referred to as rape. According to Texas Penal Code, it is the act of deliberately or knowingly causing a sexual organ to contact or penetrate another individual's mouth, anus, or sexual organ without their consent.  

A sexual assault is considered to have occurred without the consent of the other party if:

  • The perpetrator uses physical force or violence to compel the alleged victim into submitting or participating in the act
  • The accused coerces the alleged victim into submission or participation by threatening to use force or violence (against the victim or another individual), and the alleged victim believes that the alleged offender has the power to carry out that threat.
  • The victim does not consent to the act, and they are unconscious or physically incapable of resisting.
  • The alleged perpetrator is aware that the victim is incapable of comprehending or opposing the nature of the sexual act as a result of a mental defect. 
  • The perpetrator impairs the victim's ability to understand the nature of the contact by administering any substance that impairs their cognitive abilities.
  • The alleged offender is a public official who coerces the alleged victim into submitting or participating. 
  • The alleged offender is a mental health services provider or health care services provider who manipulates the alleged victim, a patient or former patient of the alleged offender, into participating by taking advantage of the alleged victim's dependence on them.
  • The alleged offender is a clergyman who manipulates the alleged victim's emotional dependence on the clergyman as a spiritual adviser to force the alleged victim to participate.

Sexual Assault Penalties in Plano, Texas

Sexual assault is usually classified as a second-degree felony. If found guilty, a fine of up to $10,000 and a term of up to 20 years in prison may be imposed.

Still, the crime could be elevated to a first-degree felony if the victim was someone who the alleged perpetrator was forbidden from marrying under the state's bigamy legislation. If found guilty, the offender may pay a fine of $10,000 and a prison term of up to 99 years or life in prison. 

Sexual assault is classified as a violent crime. In 2019, law enforcement agencies recorded 90 cases in Plano, Texas.

What Happens When You Press Charges Against Someone for Assault in Plano, Texas?

Pressing charges against someone for assault entails formally accusing them of committing the unlawful act. This involves notifying the police department and providing them with all relevant information about the alleged crime. The prosecution will review the information before filing a formal charge in court against the accused.

When these charges are filed, the defendant is advised to employ an attorney to defend their rights in the proceedings. The attorney will act as the defendant's advocate, assisting in developing the best legal defense possible. Depending on the circumstances of the charges, the attorney may adopt a variety of legally applicable defenses to the charges. 

Typically, it may be a good strategy for the defense attorney to challenge the prosecution's evidence against the defendant. In this case, any evidence that was obtained in a manner that violated the defendant's rights becomes inadmissible. As an alternative, asserting affirmative defenses is an option. Affirmative defenses, sometimes known as justification defenses, assert that criminal behavior is justifiable under specific circumstances. Among the possible defenses are:

  • Self-defense: Individuals in Plano have the right to defend themselves or others if they believe they are in danger and cannot flee the situation. The defense must show that the accused reasonably believed the force was required to protect themselves or someone else from the other person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. However, this affirmative defense only applies if the defendant did not provoke the victim.
  • Defense of property: Plano residents have the right to defend their property with physical force if they feel threatened by others. Stand Your Ground law in Texas stipulates that such reasonable force can be used to protect one's property when it is necessary.
  • Insanity: This defense claims that the accused was incapable of committing an assault due to a mental illness
  • Lack of intent or mistake: If the assault was the result of an accident or an error, this defense might be invoked. This means that the psychological state of intent required for an assault is not present.

Can a Minor Be Charged with Assault in Plano, Texas?

In Plano, minors (children under the age of 17) can be charged with assault. Juvenile criminal offenders, unlike adult criminal defendants, are adjudicated by the state and municipal juvenile justice systems. The child will be adjudged delinquent or not, rather than being found "guilty" or "not guilty," as in an adult criminal court.

The juvenile court system is distinct in that judges consider a far wider range of factors than whether or not the child really committed the offense. They consider factors that are frequently overlooked in adult court, such as the following:

  • The child's family history and background
  • The potential for rehabilitation
  • Previous delinquent behavior at school and in the community.

Judges in juvenile cases also have the discretion to choose punishment in juvenile criminal cases. Still, the severity of the conduct, as well as the circumstances surrounding it, will always define the crime's possible consequences. The following penalties may be imposed if a juvenile is adjudicated:

  • Probation
  • Detention at an institution designed specifically for juveniles
  • Volunteer work in the community
  • Counseling
  • Testing for the presence of drugs or alcohol 
  • Possible suspension of a driver's license is a serious offense
  • GPS tracking and monitoring.

Children accused of assault, like adults, have the right to be represented by attorneys to protect their rights. As a result, a defense attorney or advocate might persuade the court to examine alternatives to adjudication throughout the proceedings. The following are some alternatives to the adjudication process:

  • Community service
  • Addiction and substance abuse therapy, anger management, and other appropriate therapies and Counseling 
  • Observing a curfew
  • Attending school on a regular basis 
  • Participation in mandatory weekly meetings 
  • Preventing the occurrence of any more criminal acts
  • Restitution and/or an apology to any victims who have been wronged.

If the child meets all of the agreement's criteria, the district attorney may opt to drop the charges completely. In most situations, it is worth noting that prosecutors in Plano are more inclined to consider alternative sentencing for first-time offenders charged with non-violent misdemeanor assault. However, no guarantees can be made in this regard. It is recommended that parents choose the most effective advocate available. The attorney's competence and expertise may be crucial in averting a delinquent adjudication.

How Long Can You Go to Jail for Assault in Plano, Texas?

Depending on whether the conduct was prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony at the time of conviction, a person convicted of assault in Plano could face various penalties, including incarceration. Misdemeanors are considered less severe than felonies, and as a result, they are punished less harshly than felonies.

Also, the severity of the punishment may also be influenced by the defendant's prior criminal history, their relationship to the victim, and other factors surrounding the charge.

In the event of a conviction, the following are the possible consequences:

  • Class C misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $500  
  • Class B misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to 180 days in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 
  • Class A misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000 
  • 3rd-degree felony is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 
  • 2nd-degree felony carries a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
  • 1st-degree felony carries a sentence of 5 years to life in prison.

Alternatives to imprisonment may be available depending on the defendant's prior criminal history and the nature of the charge. The individual may be eligible for alternatives to jail, such as deferred adjudication, probation, or community service.

Simple Assault vs Aggravated Assault in Plano, Texas

Simple assault is the most basic type of assault in Plano, Texas. This type of offense occurs when a person threatens or touches another person in an offensive or provocative manner.

Simple assault is generally characterized as intentionally and recklessly:

  • Inflicting bodily injury on another person
  • Threatening someone with imminent bodily harm.

It may also simply constitute physical contact with another person that could be considered provocative or offensive.

An aggravated assault, on the other hand, is a more serious crime that involves the intentional infliction of bodily harm on the victim while utilizing a deadly weapon to commit the assault. Serious bodily injury results in temporary or permanent impairment of the victim, and as a result, aggravated assault is considered more severe than a simple assault.

In addition, simple assault is mostly classified as a misdemeanor, whereas aggravated assault is classified as a felonious offense. Because of this, individuals who are convicted of aggravated assault are more likely to face more severe consequences than those who are convicted of simple assault.